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Mother awarded £11m after King George Hospital mistakes left son with brain injuries

PUBLISHED: 12:24 06 July 2016 | UPDATED: 16:40 06 July 2016

The child, now nine,  was born with severe cerebral palsy and is dependent on 24-hour care for his whole life

The child, now nine, was born with severe cerebral palsy and is dependent on 24-hour care for his whole life

Archant

The mother of a boy left with catastrophic brain injuries due to medical blunders during his birth at King George Hospital has been awarded £11m in a High Court settlement.

The mother said she appreciates the money, which she will receive over her son’s lifetime, but cannot feel grateful to Barking Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust (BHRUT), which runs the hospital in Barley Lane, Goodmayes.

The boy, now 9 years-old and protected by an anonymity order, was born with severe cerebral palsy after medical staff failed to notice his slowing heartbeat during his mother’s labour in 2007.

He was not breathing when he was born and had to be resuscitated. Consultants working on the case said if the problem had been spotted earlier the injuries could have been avoided.

The boy, who requires 24-hour care, has spent much of his life in a wheelchair, unable to move his arms and legs, speak or hold up his head independently.

He often suffers from seizures and is not expected to live beyond 39-years-old.

In 2013, BHRUT admitted its medical mistake caused the boy’s condition and apologised to the family, a message it repeated in court yesterday (Tuesday).

But the mother, who describes her son as “the light of my life”, said the apology was “meaningless”.

The single mother, who was 20 at the time of her son’s birth, said: “I do appreciate what this settlement will do for my son’s quality of life.

“But saying sorry is fairly meaningless. In the letter of apology, they got his birth date wrong. It’s too impersonal to ever feel sincere, more as if it’s a cut and paste from the last case.

“The file is now closed for the hospital and the trust, but this is me and my son’s life forever.”

BHRUT’s chief nurse Kathryn Halford said: “I would like to apologise once again to the family.

“The care we provided fell below the standards we would expect and it is only right that we provide compensation that will enable the claimant to receive appropriate support throughout his life.

“An enormous amount of work has taken place in the nine years since this incident to revolutionise our maternity services, and I am pleased that they are now rated highly by our regulators and, more importantly, the women who use them.”

The maternity unit at the hospital closed in 2013.

The settlement was ratified by Mr Justice Hinkinbottom and will fund on-going treatment and provide the boy with live-in-carers for the rest of his life.

Edwina Rawson, the mother’s lawyer at Fieldfisher, said what she had managed over the years was “unbelievable”.

She added the boy’s face “lit up” when he was told the funds will enable him to move his arms and legs for the first in a warm swimming pool as part of rehabilitative therapy.


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