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Written on 16th December 2021 by Susan Brown

Boyes Turner’s neonatal brain injury solicitors have secured a £7 million settlement for a child who suffered a kernicterus brain injury as a result of delayed referral to hospital for treatment for jaundice. The injury to the child’s brain caused severe neurological disability, including hearing loss, feeding and swallowing problems, and dyskinetic cerebral palsy.

Delays in treatment led to dangerously high levels of bilirubin and brain injury from kernicterus

The baby was healthy at birth in hospital and initially fed well. After going home, however, the  family became increasingly worried that the baby looked yellow in colour, and was no longer feeding as before.  They told the community midwife about their concerns. She looked briefly at the baby and then reassured the family that jaundice was common in newborn babies and would go away. Later, the family took the baby to the GP, because the baby wasn’t feeding, was too sleepy to rouse and was more yellow in colour. The GP confirmed jaundice and, in response to the mother’s insistence that she was worried, he emailed the hospital asking for an urgent appointment for the newborn baby with worsening jaundice.  The first available hospital appointment was two days later. Whilst waiting for the hospital appointment, the family were advised by another midwife to take the baby to A&E if they were concerned. On arrival at hospital the baby was found to have dangerously high levels of bilirubin. Despite treatment with phototherapy and an exchange transfusion, the child had already suffered severe, permanent brain injury from kernicterus.

Helping the child make a medical negligence claim for compensation

We helped the family make a claim against the hospital whose community midwife had failed to properly examine the baby, recognise jaundice and make an urgent referral to hospital for treatment. We also pursued a claim against the GP for failing to arrange for the baby to be seen by the hospital paediatricians the same day. The hospital and the GP both denied that their care of our client was negligent. After lengthy negotiations, a £7 million settlement was agreed, made up from a lump sum plus a periodical payments order (PPO) providing lifelong annual payments to meet the costs of the child’s ongoing care.  The court approved the settlement and made an anonymity order to protect our client’s privacy. 

If you are caring for a child with cerebral palsy or other neurodevelopmental disability and would like to find out more about making a claim, you can talk to one of our specialist solicitors, free and confidentially, by contacting us here.