Family paid £13million after poor maternity care at Barking and Dagenham's hospital trust saw baby develop cerebral palsy
PUBLISHED: 07:00 27 November 2018
The mother of a boy awarded almost £13million after a catastrophic brain injury at birth has spoken of her anger at the botched delivery that changed his life.
The boy, who is now 11, suffers from cerebral palsy, acute learning difficulties and cannot speak as a result of his bungled birth at King George Hospital in Barley Lane, Goodmayes.
The hospital is run by the Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals Trust (BHRUT), which is also responsible for Queen’s Hospital in Rom Valley Way, Romford.
Despite a slowing of the baby’s heart rate – a sign that the baby was in distress – the midwife on duty at the time refused to get the doctor.
The boy’s head was then stuck as he was delivered and the cord was wrapped around his neck, starving him of oxygen.
Speaking after her son, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was awarded £12.939,000 by the High Court, the mother said she will never get over what happened to him.
She said: “I’m still angry to this day about the care he received when he was born.
“That feeling of pain and frustration will never go away. My son has so much going for him, but I am so sad at what has been taken away from him.
“He has a younger brother and seeing him develop makes me realise what he my first son has lost.
“I don’t think I will ever get over what happened to him. It is like suffering a bereavement.
“Even though I haven’t lost a child, I have lost the child that he could have been.
“If he had had the proper care this would never have happened and I wouldn’t wish this on my worst enemy.”
BHRUT admitted liability for the boy’s injuries.
Kathryn Halford, the trust’s chief nurse, apologised to the boy and his family.
She added: “The safety of our patients is our highest priority.
“Whilst we cannot change what happened, I do hope it provides some comfort to the family that we have since made significant improvements, including better support and training for our midwives, and strengthening our processes to improve how we detect issues during labour so we can deal with them before they escalate, making it much safer for mum and baby.
“We’ve vastly increased incident reporting across our hospitals, so every incident and near miss is reported, further allowing us to learn from these and prevent similar from happening again.
“And we’ve introduced weekly Patient Safety Summits, where cases are openly discussed among our staff and a patient partner, also so we can learn from what’s happened.
“We treat hundreds of thousands of patients every year.
“While we do our utmost to provide the best possible quality of care to every patient, on some occasions, things can go wrong and we are extremely sorry when we do not live up to our own high standards of care.”
The boy’s mother said the settlement would be used to future-proof the boy’s future in case anything should happen to other members of his family.
She added: “Now it is my job to make sure he has the best life possible.
“He has a great sense of humour, has a massive personality and loves watching football and going to the cinema.
“Swimming is his favourite thing in the world. It’s great that he can get so much pleasure from life.”
Angela Nunn, Partner at Hodge Jones & Allen, which represented the child through court proceedings, said: “This child suffered catastrophic brain injuries that changed his life forever all through no fault of his own.
“He will need full time care for the rest of his life and specialist equipment.
“The settlement will allow him to be cared for for the rest of his life and I hope it gives some solace to his family who have been through so much.”