Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust has agreed to a settlement of £37 million after admitting fault in one of the largest medical negligence compensation claims against the NHS. The victim, a child, was left brain-damaged following incompetence during the delivery by the medical staff.
The large payout comes amid calls for a national inquiry into the state of maternal care in NHS health facilities.
Debilitating Brain Damage Due to Medical Negligence
The young boy who was the victim of medical negligence was born in 2013. During his delivery he suffered life-long brain damage, that could have been avoided had the maternity staff taken proper care.
Medical personnel at the NHS trust failed to identify that the boy was in the breech position in time. In a breech position, a baby is in a feet-first or bottom-first position before birth.
When the staff later noticed the breech position amid the baby’s dropping heart rate, the mother was immediately scheduled for an emergency caesarean section.
However, the delay in performing the procedure meant that the boy was deprived of adequate oxygen supply for a long period—leading to permanent brain damage. This has left him with complex, life-long disabilities that necessitate around-the-clock care.
Compensation Demanded by the Family
The family claimed compensation from Guy’s and St Thomas’. The NHS Foundation Trust admitted fault—and after assessment of the boy’s long-term needs, agreed to pay out £37 million to the parents.
Due to the increasing number of maternity negligence cases in different NHS health care facilities, the Baby Lifeline charity and The Independent are pursuing a campaign to reinstate the maternity safety training fund.
According to Judy Ledger from Baby Lifeline:
“This unimaginable and tragic case is devastating for all concerned. Baby Lifeline is campaigning for the government to invest more funding into the maternity sector – especially for safety training. With the right CPD training, a high percentage of serious injuries could be avoided…It is distressing to learn about this poor boy, and our hearts go out to him and his family.”
“In recent years we’ve seen a number of high-profile investigations into maternity care at NHS trusts across the country, which have been driven by devastating stories of avoidable harm and death. As similar themes emerge from these it becomes less and less likely that they are isolated to particular individuals or trusts.”
She added, “We owe it to mothers, babies, and health professionals to rigorously investigate these recurring themes and address any systemic and wide-ranging issues within maternity care in the UK…We would welcome a system-wide inquiry to fully understand the scale and nature of failings in maternity care. Only by understanding it fully, can we hope to make the necessary changes to avoid future tragedies.”
The Compensation Payout
The £37 million maternity negligence payout is as one of the largest legal settlements of its kind. The settlement figure factors in the baby’s reduced quality of life (covering his lifetime), the cost of 24/7 care to address the boy’s daily needs, expenses associated with specialised care equipment, and other related costs.
Although the Trust agreed to the payout, the family claimed that obtaining justice and an admission of responsibility by Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust was not a straightforward task.
Speaking to The Independent, the boy’s parents noted:
“Despite the Trust obviously being responsible for the incident, which was clear as day and confirmed to us by every single NHS staff member that we spoke to on a day-to-day basis, the Trust did not admit liability immediately.”
They went on to add that:
“The consequence is that the extraordinary cost of having a baby with special needs has to be supported by the family until a decision is made on the Trust’s liability. This creates a significant amount of pressure on families on top of the trauma of having a special needs child, produces a different outcome based on the financial condition of the family, and allows Trusts to under-compensate some families.”
Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust—commented through its spokesperson:
“We are very sorry that the care provided to the family during the birth of their child fell short of the high standards we aim to provide to all our patients…We also recognise and are truly sorry for the life-long consequences of the delivery for the whole family.”
The Trust added, “We sincerely hope the settlement approved by the High Court, which comprises annual payments and a lump sum, will ensure that the family can plan for the future, secure in the knowledge that they will be able to provide the best possible care and support to meet the needs of their child throughout their life…As a Trust, we seek to learn lessons from any adverse outcomes and use these lessons to improve our care.”
No Win, No Fee Maternity Compensation Claims
Families affected by maternity negligence can seek compensation for their financial, emotional, and physical suffering without worrying about any upfront costs.
Devonshires Claims specialise in all types of birth injury claims. If you have suffered in similar circumstances please contact our team today onto start your free case evaluation, contact our ‘No Win No Fee’ claims experts today on today on 0333 900 8787, email email@example.com or complete our online contact form.