Royal Preston Hospital birth family receives £5 million settlement after poorly baby did not receive neonatal care for almost a day

The High Court has approved a medical negligence settlement of £5 million after ruling a Lancashire hospital failed to give timely neonatal care.

Tuesday, 8th December 2020, 3:28 pm
Royal Preston Hospital

The virtual hearing at the Royal Courts of Justice in London heard how the youngster, who is protected by an anonymity order, was born prematurely and later suffered cerebral palsy with spastic diplegia, developmental delay and impaired cognitive and intellectual function.

Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust admitted a breach of duty but did not admit causing the significant injuries as a result.

It argued the baby may have suffered a 'silent antenatal event' in the womb that contributed to the outcome.

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The baby's family has been battling the case for more for than a decade due to the complicated medical evidence.

Representing the family, Blackpool based birth injury solicitor Diane Rostron said it has been one of the most medically complex cases she had dealt with.

She said: “We are pleased that the Court has approved the settlement which will provide for the complex, lifelong needs of our client. Our client was born prematurely and required neonatal care immediately after their birth.

“There were clear visible signs that something was wrong. Our client was floppy, grunting and their skin eventually turned grey and mottled. Despite their parents asking medical staff to take their baby to the neonatal unit, the hospital failed to act until almost 24 hours later.

“We thank the Trust for admitting breach of duty which will give our client’s family some peace of mind after a 10-year legal battle. The settlement will help pay for an adapted home so that our client can move around freely in their wheelchair. It will also provide a home with a bedroom on the same floor as the rest of the family as climbing stairs is impossible due to their significant injuries.”

The Lancashire based parents said: “This was our first child and we knew straight away that something wasn’t right.

"Medical staff however, reassured us that we shouldn’t worry telling us that this was normal due to our baby being born early. We trusted the medical staff and it was only through a chance conversation a year later that we discovered that the level of care was not adequate and may have caused our child’s permanent brain injury.

“The incident has had a traumatic effect on the entire family. We have to struggle with daily challenges regularly relying on family and friends for help. We cannot enjoy normal days out or holidays and our child is severely restricted in what they are able to do as a result.

“This is increasingly frustrating and upsetting as they realise that they simply cannot do many of the activities that their peers and siblings enjoy as part of a normal childhood.”

The case against the Trust was that it should have admitted the baby into the neonatal unit from birth.

Diane Rostron argued that had this occurred, appropriate and timely treatment would have ultimately avoided the child developing cerebral palsy.

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