If your child is born disabled, taking legal advice is very often the only way to find out for sure whether medical negligence is to blame. The point was made by a High Court case in which a teenage girl won the right to multi-million-pound compensation.
The girl's parents said that they were informed following their daughter's delivery that her disabilities could not have been predicted and that there had been no prior indication of anything being wrong. However, when the girl was aged 10, she asked them to find out what had happened to her, and it was only then that the couple took legal advice.
Their investigations revealed that almost ten minutes had elapsed before the girl took her first breath after being delivered with her umbilical cord wrapped three times around her neck and body. As a result of oxygen starvation, she suffers from quadriplegic cerebral palsy, requires full-time use of a wheelchair and can only communicate via advanced equipment activated by her eye movements. She is, however, a bright 15-year-old who is studying for her GCSE exams.
After an in-depth analysis of the girl's medical records was carried out and proceedings were launched, the NHS trust that ran the hospital where she was born accepted that she should be compensated on the basis of 90 per cent liability. It also agreed to make a substantial interim payment of damages to cover the costs of her care pending a final assessment of her total award.