Blackpool Vic ordered to pay £6.3m settlement following botched birth that caused permanent brain damage

Blackpool Victoria Hospital has been ordered by the High Court to pay a multi-million settlement after a botched birth more than 30 years ago resulted in permanent brain injuries for the child involved.

Tuesday, 30th March 2021, 7:24 am

The child, who is now 36 and has severe autism, OCD and epilepsy, suffered from oxygen deprivation while being born in a breech position at the hospital in 1984.

It was argued that the hospital failed to recognise that a caesarian section was required, and a natural birth was allowed to progress resulting in complications.

Today (May 29), the High Court ruled that the hospital must pay £6.3m to the 36-year-old and their family, who cannot be identified for legal reasons.

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Blackpool Victoria Hospital

Representing the family, birth injuries solicitor Diane Rostron said: “This was the family’s second child, the hospital was aware that the baby’s size compared to the mother’s small frame, and the fact that the baby was in breech position at this stage, were red flags indicating that a c-section was the safest, and arguably the only, option.

“We believe that the significant risks of progressing with a natural birth were not explained nor was delivering the baby via c-section considered or offered as an alternative. As a result, the delivery of the baby’s head was delayed and during this critical period, the baby was starved of oxygen resulting in irreversible brain damage.

“Our client is now a 36-year-old adult who lacks mental capacity, is living with severe autism, extreme OCD and epilepsy. They are unable to gain employment as a result of what we believe was an entirely avoidable incident.

“Our client’s injuries also mean that they require 24-hour supervision for their own safety. Had the hospital provided the correct medical intervention with the baby being delivered via c-section, we believe all injuries would have been avoided.”

The family said: “We were aware from when our child was a toddler that they had difficulties including finding it difficult to socialize with other children or play with toys. As our child developed, more challenges became apparent which were increasingly difficult to manage.

“We have had to fight every step of the way to gain understanding and support for our child , but it was some years before we questioned whether the complex needs could have been a result of something that happened during birth.

“Winning the settlement has given us the peace of mind that our child’s needs will be met for the rest of their life. Knowing that it could all have been prevented has been soul destroying but equally has given us the acknowledgement and justice that we needed."

The settlement includes past and future loss of earnings and the cost of past and future care needs.

A spokesman for Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust said: “The circumstances of (the individual's) birth back in 1984 have been investigated in detail and it was accepted that the management of the delivery fell below the standard to be expected. Those failings are a matter of profound regret, for which we reiterate our apologies. The hospital and the management and procedures in place have changed massively since 1984 and we consider that lessons have been learned from this case.

“The Trust is sorry for the injuries sustained at the time of (the individual's) birth and is pleased that there has now been a financial settlement agreed, which will hopefully help them and their family to provide the best future possible.”