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Girl awarded £8.2million settlement after suffering brain injuries during childbirth at King George Hospital

PUBLISHED: 07:00 29 January 2019

King George Hospital in Goodmayes. Photo: Ken Mears

King George Hospital in Goodmayes. Photo: Ken Mears

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A girl who suffered a brain injury following failings in childbirth at King George Hospital will receive £8.2 million to provide her with the specialist care and therapies she needs for the rest of her life.

The girl, who can only be referred to as ABC, was injured following a delay in treatment of her mother’s diabetes in pregnancy by staff at King George Hospital, in Barley Lane, Goodmayes back in 2002.

The hospital is run by the Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Trust (BHRUT), which is also responsible for Queen’s Hospital in Rom Valley Way, Romford.

As a result of injuries sustained during childbirth, the child was diagnosed with cerebral palsy.

Her family instructed expert medical negligence lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to help the girl access the specialist care, therapies and support she requires.

Following a series of expert assessments and negotiations, BHRUT agreed a settlement totalling £8.2 million.

The settlement was approved by Geoffrey Tattersall QC at a High Court hearing on Thursday (January 24).

Anne Kavanagh, specialist medical negligence lawyer at Irwin Mitchell representing the family, said after the hearing: “This is a tragic case because the injury suffered by my client was avoidable, if her mother had received appropriate care during her pregnancy, labour and delivery.

“The settlement marks the end of a very long process for both ABC and her mother.

“The settlement reached and approved will ensure that ABC receives appropriate care and support for the rest of her life.

“It is now important that the hospital trust learns lessons from this case to improve patient care.”

ABC has relatively mild physical disabilities but she has significant learning disabilities which will affect her throughout her life.

The money will fund treatments such as physiotherapy and accommodation, allowing her to live as independently as possible in the future.

It will also compensate for the fact that the girl is unlikely to be able to work during her lifetime.

ABC’s mother said: “I have such a mixture of emotions. My daughter’s injury was avoidable and would not have happened if I had received competent care during my pregnancy.

“There is sadness and I’m not sure I will ever get over the resentment I feel about that but there is also relief that because of this settlement, she will have some financial security and I have the security of knowing that she will be properly looked after throughout her life”.

The girl will receive a lump sum of £4.1 million as well as annual payments. The total capitalised value of the settlement over her lifetime will be £8.2m.

Barking, Havering and Redbridge, University Hospitals NHS Trust had previously admitted liability.

Kathryn Halford, the trust’s chief nurse, said: “We would like to sincerely apologise to the patient and their family. The safety of our patients is our highest priority.

“We treat hundreds of thousands of patients every year and do everything possible to provide the very best care to every patient.

“Sadly on occasion, things can go wrong and we are extremely sorry when this happens and we do not live up to our own high standards.”

“We have learned from this and have since made significant improvements – we provide better support and training for our midwives, and have strengthened our processes so that we can identify issues during labour before they escalate, meaning we offer a much safer service for mums and their babies.

“We’ve worked very hard to improve our incident reporting so we’re able to learn from these and prevent something similar from reoccurring - every incident and near miss is now reported.

“We also learn through our weekly Patient Safety Summits, where we discuss cases openly among our staff and a patient partner.

“Whilst we cannot change what happened we hope that the improvements we have made in the care we provide will offer some comfort to the family.”

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