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Written on 20th November 2023 by Julie Marsh

Boyes Turner’s neonatal brain injury solicitors have secured a liability judgment and interim payment for a teenager whose brain was injured as a result of negligent ventilation treatment after her premature birth.

Our client was born prematurely at 25 weeks gestation. She needed respiratory support after her birth and was intubated and put on a ventilator. She was then transferred to the defendant hospital for specialist neonatal prematurity care. Whilst in the neonatal unit at the hospital, the decision was made to treat her via a nebuliser, but the neonatal staff failed to connect the nebuliser correctly to her ventilator. This resulted in excessive or over-ventilation which caused her to suffer a cardiac arrest and hypoxic brain injury from intraventricular haemorrhage (bleeding into the brain).  

Helping our client make a neonatal brain injury claim

Her family contacted us for advice after the hospital’s own investigation identified mistakes in the neonatal staff’s use of the nebuliser and its connection to the ventilator. At that early stage, there appeared to be no evidence of lasting injury, but we advised the family to come back to us for further advice if the child had any developmental problems during her childhood or adolescence. They returned to us in the child’s teenage years, by which time she had developed neurological disability from ASD/ADHD, impaired balance, swallowing and learning.  

Admission of liability for negligent neonatal care leading to cardiac arrest and brain injury

After further investigations, we served a letter of claim on the NHS trust which was responsible for the treatment that our client had received during her neonatal care. They admitted that there had been negligent failings in our client’s ventilation treatment, and that these had caused her cardiac arrest, hypoxic brain injury, and ongoing neurological effects from her injury. They disputed that her ASD/ADHD was caused or worsened by their admitted failings in care.

We obtained a liability judgment from the court in relation to the admitted negligence, leaving the nature, cause and extent of our client’s ongoing neurological disability to be assessed at trial if we are unable to reach agreement or negotiated settlement.

Protecting our client’s compensation and privacy

We secured an interim payment to help meet our client’s immediate needs whilst we continue to work with our experts and our client’s family to prepare for settlement of the claim. A Court of Protection deputy has been appointed to manage our client’s compensation. Our client’s privacy is protected by an anonymity order.

If your child has cerebral palsy or neurological disability as a result of medical negligence or you have been contacted by HSSIB/MNSI or NHS Resolution, you can talk to a solicitor, free and confidentially, for advice about how to respond or make a claim by contacting us.