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What is a neonatal brain injury and how do I claim?

What is a neonatal brain injury?

Neonatal literally means newborn. In medical terms, the neonatal period relates to the first few weeks of life. A neonate is a newborn baby. Neonatal care is the specialist care of babies – often born prematurely, unwell or who are small for their gestational age – within the first weeks of life. Neonatal care usually takes place in a neonatal unit (NNU) or special care baby unit (SCBU) or a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), depending on the level of monitoring and treatment and breathing support that is needed.

Can I get Legal Aid for a neonatal brain injury medical negligence claim?

Legal Aid is available for birth injury and neonatal claims resulting in neurological injury where the injury was caused during the mother’s pregnancy, the baby’s birth or the first eight weeks of the baby’s life. Where our specialist brain injury lawyers believe the severely injured child has a viable claim and they are eligible for Legal Aid, Boyes Turner make a Legal Aid application on the child’s behalf.

Does my newborn baby’s admission to NICU, NNU or SCBU mean that they have a claim for negligence?

There are many reasons why a newborn baby might be admitted to a neonatal unit. Some of the more common reasons include:

  • They need help with breathing and maintaining their oxygen levels by ventilation or continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP)
  • They are at risk of hypoglycaemia and need close monitoring and help with feeding to maintain their blood sugar and nutrition
  • Their heart rate needs monitoring
  • They are at risk of kernicterus and need phototherapy for jaundice
  • They are recovering from or are receiving treatment for an infection
  • They are recovering from surgery or other treatment
  • They need therapeutic cooling after suffering HIE (hypoxic ischaemic encephalopathy - brain damage from lack of oxygen)

Premature babies (born before 37 weeks of pregnancy) or those with very low birth weights often need neonatal care as they need more support and are at greater risk of complications.

In full term babies (born after 37 weeks) who have been admitted to a neonatal unit, most admissions relate to problems with respiration, hypoglycaemia (low blood sugar), jaundice or asphyxia. NHS Improvement has identified poor treatment associated with these conditions as potential causes of greatest harm which, where causing serious neurological injury, can give rise to a claim.

In a patient safety alert in 2017, NHS Improvement said: “It is a priority for the NHS to reduce avoidable harm that can lead to full-term babies (babies born after 37 weeks of pregnancy) being admitted to neonatal units. The number of unexpected admissions to neonatal units is seen as a proxy indicator that preventable harm may have been caused at some point along the maternity or neonatal pathway.”

Perinatal asphyxia or HIE, respiratory problems from meconium aspiration during birth, kernicterus from untreated jaundice, delayed treatment of infection and neurological injury from untreated hypoglycaemia are the most common neonatal brain damage claims that we see at Boyes Turner. Our clients come to us at many stages of their child’s development - shortly after birth, in early childhood or in teenage years - depending on when the damage becomes evident. Negligent medical treatment of the newborn child can cause severe disability which lasts far beyond the baby’s first few weeks.

Neonatal brain injury can present with a wide range of features. Once the damage is done, the injured areas of the brain cannot recover and as the baby grows and develops, the full extent of the problems caused by the neonatal injury are gradually revealed. These impairments can range from near normal development to a diagnosis of cerebral palsy and can present as:

  • delayed development
  • missed early years milestones
  • behavioural problems
  • difficulties with feeding or speech
  • impaired fine motor control
  • damage to the senses
  • spasticity
  • athetosis
  • severe cognitive damage. 

If you are caring for a child who has suffered a brain injury from negligent care at birth or in the first few weeks of life, contact us 0118 952 7219 or email mednegclaims@boyesturner.com.

Neonatal hypoglycaemia is a cause of brain damage - how do I know if my child has a claim?

What is neonatal hypoglycaemia?

Neonatal hypoglycaemia is a common metabolic condition in newborn babies which, if left untreated, can cause long-term brain damage and disability. Hypoglycaemia means low blood glucose or sugar. It becomes dangerous when the newborn’s blood sugar drops below safe levels, such as before the baby has established a regular feeding pattern enabling it to keep its blood glucose up in the first few days of life. 

What are the risk factors for neonatal hypoglycaemia?

Until adequate feeding is established all newborn babies are at some risk of hypoglycaemia, which is why it is part of the post-natal midwives’ job to ensure that the baby is receiving enough milk. The baby’s blood sugar is measured by a heel-prick blood test and is carried out routinely in some hospitals but should always be carried out for babies who are known to be at risk.

Those at increased risk include:

  • Newborn babies with birthweights below 2.5kg - the standard threshold level below which the baby’s blood glucose must be monitored
  • Babies with diabetic mothers
  • Babies who are small for dates with intra-uterine growth retardation (IUGR)

Regardless of birthweight or their mother’s state of health, any baby who is not feeding properly could be at risk, for example by:

  • Not waking up for feeds
  • Not sucking properly
  • Demanding feeding very frequently because they are not getting enough food at each feed

Is neonatal hypoglycaemia a medical emergency?

If acted upon quickly, neonatal low blood sugar can be corrected quickly by feeding, either by breastfeeding if that provides enough milk, by expressed breastmilk or formula milk or, if necessary, intravenously by a glucose drip.

In a review of medical negligence claims relating to neonatal hypoglycaemia, NHSLA (the NHS Litigation Authority, now known as NHS Resolution, which represents the NHS in legal claims) found that abnormal feeding behaviour was very closely associated with the condition, both as a cause and as a potential consequence of hypoglycaemia. Maternal concerns about abnormal feeding behaviour were often ignored by health professionals, missing a vital opportunity to take action to prevent hypoglycaemia before permanent damage was done to the infant’s brain.

If neonatal hypoglycaemia is severe or is left untreated, the baby’s condition will deteriorate, demonstrating other signs of illness. Neonatal hypoglycaemia with abnormal clinical signs must be regarded as a medical emergency requiring immediate action to avoid permanent brain damage and severe neurodevelopmental disability. Abnormal signs which are commonly seen with hypoglycaemia include:

  • Hypothermia (low body temperature)
  • Floppiness
  • Fitting or jitteriness
  • Infection
  • Respiratory (breathing) difficulties

Hypoglycaemia can also occur alongside and in combination with other serious conditions.

My baby has brain damage from hypoglycaemia – do I have a claim?

In its review of 25 neonatal hypoglycaemia claims which succeeded against the NHS over a ten year period at a total cost of over £162 million, NHSLA identified the most common errors in clinical care as:

  • Delays in obtaining blood glucose test results
  • Delays in taking action on a low blood glucose result
  • Delays in referring babies to the paediatrician once concerns have been identified
  • Delays in admitting babies who have been diagnosed with clinically significant hypoglycaemia to the neonatal unit (NNU)
  • Delayed administration of intravenous glucose on the NNU
  • Insufficient glucose being administered to correct the hypoglycaemia
  • Delayed attendance by the paediatrician when called by the midwife to review
  • Failing to advise the mother properly when the baby is discharged home.

Unlike asphyxial (oxygen deprivation) causes of perinatal brain injury, neurodevelopmental disability from neonatal hypoglycaemia might not be obvious to the parents in the immediate aftermath of the traumatic birth or the infant’s early childhood. Neurodevelopmental disability from avoidable neonatal hypoglycaemia might be disregarded or downplayed until the child grows and the impact of their injury later becomes evident when they struggle to cope at school.

In its review, NHSLA said it was likely that whilst the cases they knew about were those where the parents had identified potential deficits in care, it is likely that others who were harmed have not been notified to NHSLA via the litigation process.

Boyes Turner’s specialist brain injury solicitors are experienced in obtaining compensation for children and teenagers with neurodevelopmental injury from avoidable neonatal hypoglycaemia. We work with experts to ensure that, where liability for the injury is established, the extent of the injury and the impact on the individual’s mobility, cognition, education, work and independence is properly assessed to ensure that our clients are properly compensated. In addition, our special educational needs (SEN) team can help families with children affected by neonatal brain injury secure the educational support that they need for their child within the school that is right for them.

If you are caring for a child who has suffered neurodevelopmental disability from negligent medical care, contact us on 0118 952 7219 or email mednegclaims@boyesturner.com.

Is the Boyes Turner personal injury team right for you?

When someone has suffered a personal injury it is essential that they pick the right solicitor to assist them with their claim.

Carefully selecting the correct solicitor will ensure that you have:

  1. Access to up to date legal advice.
  2. Advice from a large network of specialists that we work with, such as medical experts, barristers, financial and welfare benefit advisors, employment and educational experts, housing and conveyancing specialists, and more.
  3. Access to specialist care and rehabilitation providers to assist you in your recovery journey.
  4. A speedy conclusion of your claim.
  5. Peace of mind that you will receive the compensation you need to secure your future.

No two claims are the same, even if the injuries are similar or if they were injured in the same accident. Thankfully Boyes Turner’s team of dedicated personal injury specialists are able to advise on all types of personal injury claims from minor injuries right through to life changing injuries such as brain injuries, spinal injuries and amputations.

Below we give you a quick introduction to the partners in the team and the specialisms they hold.

Kim Smerdon

Kim Smerdon leads Boyes Turner’s highly regarded personal injury team. A specialist in catastrophic injury cases, Kim acts for clients with acquired brain damage, spinal injuries and serious orthopaedic injuries.

Kim has extensive experience of all types of personal injury cases and has acted for clients who have been injured in road traffic accidents, in the workplace, as a result of defective products and criminal injuries.

A keen charity fundraiser, Kim recently completed the 3 Peaks Challenge, climbing Ben Nevis, Scafell Pike and Snowdon in 24 hours to raise over £35,000 for The Debbie Fund, a charity set up to raise funds for research into cervical cancer.

Kim is a member of the Law Society’s Personal Injury Panel and an accredited senior litigator and brain injury specialist with the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL). She is an associate member of the Child Brain Injury Trust, and a member of the Brain Injury Social Work Group, Headway and Spinal Injuries Panel Solicitors. She is a Headway Life Member, a trustee of Headway Thames Valley and trustee of the Bicycle Helmet Initiative Trust, a charity committed to saving young people’s lives by promoting safer cycling and benefits of using a cycle helmet. 

Claire Roantree

As a partner in Boyes Turner’s highly regarded personal injury team, Claire acts for clients with life-changing injuries, such as mild to very severe brain injury, spinal cord injury, amputation, severe burns, complex orthopaedic and musculoskeletal injury, chronic pain and PTSD. 

Claire works closely with the defendant insurers, using the Rehabilitation Code and securing interim payments to provide her injured clients with the treatment, care, facilities and support that they need to get their rehabilitation underway straight away, without losing valuable recovery time whilst waiting for final settlement at the conclusion of the claim. Working with experts in a variety of medical and therapeutic disciplines, professional case managers and carers, the client’s immediate needs are prioritised – recovery and rehabilitation – whilst the claim is quantified to make maximum provision  for their future needs for ongoing care, support and financial security.

A keen charity supporter and fundraiser she has used her love of running and walking to fundraise for The Children's Trust, Tadworth. She has run events for Headway SW London for whom she was a trustee for six years. She is a trustee for Cycle Smart and supports the charity’s campaign to raise cycling safety awareness and reduce road traffic accidents. 

Claire is a member of the Law Society's Personal Injury Panel, APIL (Brain Injury Specialist Interest Group), Headway and ABIL (Acquired Brain Injury across London).

As you can see there is no type of claim that the team cannot handle and together they are confident that they can assist you in achieving the best recovery possible as well as the justice and compensation you deserve.

If you would like to speak to our specialist personal injury team please do not hesitate to contact us for a free no obligation advice on 0118 952 7137 or email piclaims@boyesturner.com.

Brain Injury from Meningitis - sensory after effects

As Meningitis Now’s #MayMayhem dedicated fund raising month here at Boyes Turner comes to an end and we finish off the abundance of cakes and sweet treats on sale, and the sound of party poppers slowly fades from the kitchen, it’s worth mentioning that meningitis survivors often experience sensory impairments from the damage that has been done to their brain by this virulent disease.

What sensory damage could my child suffer after brain injury from meningitis?

Meningitis Now provides helpful information for parents about how meningitis-related brain injury might affect their child:

  • Hearing loss

The most common sensory after-effect of meningitis is loss of hearing caused by damage to the inner ear. In fact, 8% of all meningitis sufferers experience some permanent loss of hearing (sensori-neural hearing loss). Children should be offered a hearing test within four weeks of recovery from bacterial meningitis or meningococcal septicaemia as early management is essential to reduce the impact on the child’s language development.

Damage to the inner ear can also cause tinnitus and problems with balance and coordination. 10% of survivors of childhood meningitis will have ongoing difficulties with balance. Balance difficulties can occur even when the child’s hearing has not been affected. This might cause problems with delayed sitting or walking in early childhood, riding a bicycle, balancing in the dark or on uneven surfaces, or in situations such as running around a busy playground. The sufferer may have dizziness, unsteadiness or vertigo.

  • Visual problems

Following brain injury both vision and the ability to understand what is seen (visual perception) can be impaired. Visual fields (the extent of what is seen without moving the eyes or head), visual acuity (seeing at different distances) and visual perception can all be affected, as can the ability to track and  change focus, coordinate information from both eyes, or fix on a series of stationary objects quickly – an essential skill for reading. The child might experience double vision.

The child might not be aware of the extent of their visual problems or might try to ignore them, so it is important that parents report any concerns about their child’s vision following meningitis or brain injury to their doctor and ask for a specialist referral.

  • Taste, smell and touch

After damage to the brain, children may experience problems with taste and smell affecting their eating habits and exposing them to increased safety risks. They may lose the ability to identify objects by touch. Altered responses to temperature or pain exposes the child to additional risks of harm.

Where a client has sensory after-effects from meningitis-related brain injury caused by negligence, Boyes Turner’s brain injury and SEN specialists work with a range of experts, including audiologists, ophthalmologists, neurologists, physiotherapists, occupational therapists and psychologists to assess the child’s disability, facilitate rehabilitation and ensure that the child receives proper treatment, support and compensation for their injury.

If you or someone you care for are disabled as a result of negligent medical treatment for meningitis please contact our specialist team on 0118 952 7219 or email mednegclaims@boyesturner.com.

Julie Marsh, Believe & Achieve mentor for Meningitis Now

Julie Marsh, a senior associate - solicitor within Boyes Turner’s medical negligence team, is delighted to have been accepted to offer mentoring to young people through leading meningitis charity, Meningitis Now’s Believe & Achieve programme.  

What is the Believe and Achieve programme?

Believe and Achieve is a new venture which will enable the charity to offer personalised, age-specific and accessible support to 14 to 25-year-olds affected by meningitis. The programme is designed to be flexible so that the charity can respond to varying levels of need for support, depending on the young person’s individual experience following meningitis, their current difficulties, their strengths and their goals for what they want to develop or achieve.

Help and support is now on hand from free activities, events and workshops to support young meningitis survivors in their education, work and other areas of life. Believe & Achieve also offers signposting and referrals to other organisations, such as the National Citizenship Service, Young Carers and the Child Brain Injury Trust.

How can I get one to one help from Meningitis Now’s Believe & Achieve programme?

  • What is counselling and how can it help?

Meningitis Now can now offer counselling to help young meningitis survivors cope with their feelings and worries by talking through their experiences in private with a non-judgemental, professional, fully checked counsellor. Counselling can help the young person come to terms with what they have been through and help develop new ways to cope with situations. Believe & Achieve’s free 50 minute counselling sessions take place somewhere that’s local, friendly and private, once a week for about six weeks. Counsellors can be male or female, as preferred.

  • What is coaching and how can it help?

One to one coaching is available for those who want focussed help with a specific goal, such as getting a job or overcoming fears about public speaking in preparation for making a presentation at school. The fully trained coach can help with setting goals and planning how to achieve them, developing skills and improving performance and effectiveness. Where coaching is needed, Believe & Achieve offers coaching once a week for a six-week period, either face to face, by phone or by email.

  • What is mentoring and how can it help?

Through Believe & Achieve young people affected by meningitis can also benefit from six weeks of personal mentoring in three one-to-one sessions with a mentor. A mentor uses their own experience, wisdom and resources to support, advise and motivate others to succeed in achieving their own goals.

  • How do I get help if I think I have a claim?

At Boyes Turner our brain injury lawyers are skilled in securing compensation for clients who have been disabled or have suffered long-term injury as a result of delayed diagnosis and treatment of meningitis.

Where liability is established, we secure interim payments to help provide care, therapies, special educational support, specialist equipment, such as prostheses and vehicles, and adapted accommodation. We recognise the importance of getting rehabilitation underway and restoring mobility and independence as soon as liability is admitted, so that our clients don’t have to put their lives on hold until the claim is finally settled.

Our solicitors understand the devastating impact of meningitis on the sufferer’s physical, emotional and psychological wellbeing. We also understand that the suffering caused by this disease extends far beyond those whose circumstances give rise to a claim. We are delighted that Julie is able to offer young people affected by meningitis the benefit of her knowledge, experience and caring support, by providing mentoring through Meningitis Now’s Believe & Achieve programme.

If you or someone you care for are disabled as a result of negligent medical treatment for meningitis please contact our specialist team on 0118 952 7219 or email mednegclaims@boyesturner.com.

Brain injury from meningitis - understanding its effects on speech, language and communication

#MayMayhem continues at Boyes Turner in aid of Meningitis Now’s fundraising campaign to help reduce the risk and alleviate the suffering caused by meningitis.

When meningitis strikes, its consequences can be deadly unless swift action is taken to admit the sufferer to hospital for urgent intravenous antibiotics. Meningitis and its associated condition of septicaemia can kill and cause permanent disability. Prompt treatment saves lives and reduces the risk of long-term damage, but survivors of serious infection from the illness may suffer continuing disability from the injury to their brain.  

How does brain injury from meningitis affect speech, language and communication?

Speech, language and communication problems are common after a brain injury and vary depending on the affected area and severity of the damage to the brain. The skills needed to speak, interpret and use language and understand the more subtle, social cues and conversational ‘rules’ relating to communication continue to develop as the child grows older. The full effects of an acquired brain injury (ABI) on the child’s speech, language and communication may, therefore, take time to become apparent.

Hidden difficulties

After ABI some children will retain the ability to speak at their pre-injury level, particularly if the brain is still able to control the muscles which physically control the formation of speech. Whilst their speech might appear normal, they may encounter a variety of hidden difficulties which hinder their ability to communicate. These problems can come from damage to areas of the brain which directly control understanding and use of speech and language but can also be affected by memory, attention and concentration deficits and fatigue which often follow ABI. Reading and writing can be affected by post ABI coordination and visual problems affecting the ability to hold or control a pen. The child may have no insight into their problems and feel frustrated and isolated as they struggle to communicate, to keep up at school and to interact with their friends.

Specific problems in speech, language and communication

Meningitis Now’s helpful factsheets explain some of the ways in which a child’s ability to communicate might be impaired by brain injury after meningitis.

Aphasia affects the production and understanding of speech, and the ability to read and write. Receptive aphasia is an impairment of the understanding of language. Expressive aphasia is an impairment of the use of language.

Children with receptive aphasia might demonstrate the following without realising what they are doing:

  • Being able to speak fluently but using words in the wrong order
  • Having varying levels of skill in different areas of language
  • Needing to use non-verbal skills to communicate, such as pictures or gestures
  • Using incorrect or made-up words, which makes their speech hard for others to understand
  • Struggling to recognise written letters or words or to understand simple sentences – affecting reading

Children with expressive aphasia might:

  • Have limited fluency of speech and vocabulary and speak in short, simple sentences
  • Be able to understand language but not be able to use it
  • Struggle to name people and objects and be unable to use cues to help
  • Struggle to write certain letters, or put letters in the wrong order in words

Dysarthria is where the physical ability to speak is impaired when the area of the brain which controls the muscles used for speech is damaged. Dysarthria can cause varying levels of impairment from slurring to complete loss of speech.

Dyspraxia is difficulty with planned and coordinated movements which might prevent the child from being able to say what they are thinking.  

More complex ‘executive function’ impairments can hinder problem solving or understanding the nuances of language (such as jokes). The child might need more time to process information, affecting their ability to learn and keep up at school.

Following ABI they might struggle with social interaction and friendships owing to difficulties understanding the unspoken ‘rules’ of social communication, such as taking turns to speak, using appropriate language and understanding body language or facial expressions.

At Boyes Turner we understand the importance of assessing and understanding the full extent of each individual client’s injuries and needs. Only by doing so can we ensure that their compensation meets their lifelong needs, whether for care, special educational support, assistive technology, therapies, adapted accommodation, specialist equipment or prostheses.

Where our clients have suffered an acquired brain injury following negligent delays in diagnosis and treatment of meningitis, other errors in medical care or as a result of an accident caused by another’s fault, Boyes Turner’s brain injury lawyers work with experts in a range of disciplines, including speech and language therapy, assistive technology, educational psychology, neuropsychology, physiotherapy and occupational therapy to understand and assess the value of the claim. Where liability is established, or the Rehabilitation Code can be invoked depending on the cause of the injury, we obtain interim payments to provide early rehabilitation and meet the family’s immediate needs without having to wait for final settlement of the claim.

If you are caring for someone who has suffered a brain injury then please contact our specialist solicitors on 0118 952 7219 or email mednegcaims@boyesturner.com

Melloney Harbutt receives Asbestos Disease Specialist accreditation from APIL

Kim Smerdon, head of Boyes Turner’s successful industrial disease and personal injury teams is pleased to announce that senior associate solicitor, Melloney Harbutt, has been awarded Asbestos Disease Specialist status by APIL. 

Melloney acts exclusively for people from a wide range of trades and occupations who have suffered asbestos-related diseases, including pleural thickening, asbestosis and mesothelioma, with a particular interest and specialism in difficult lung cancer cases. She recovers compensation for individuals and their bereaved families from their former employers’ insurers, and for mesothelioma sufferers under the Diffuse Mesothelioma Payment Scheme. She achieves justice and compensation for those exposed indirectly to asbestos dust, such as on a relative’s clothes or from living close to an asbestos factory.

Melloney has dedicated her career to making a difference to the lives of those affected by asbestos. She works hard to secure lifetime settlements, provisional awards in case of possible future malignancy, and justice for her injured clients in hard fought and evidentially difficult cases, achieving success where less experienced solicitors might fail.

We are delighted that her expertise, commitment and dedication to helping these deserving clients has been recognised.

If you or a family member has been diagnosed with mesothelioma or any other asbestos related disease, we may be able to help. Contact us on 0800 884 0718 or email IDClaims@boyesturner.com for a free initial discussion.

Scaffolding and workplace accidents falling, says NASC 2018 Safety Report

The 2018 Safety Report of the National Access and Scaffolding Confederation (NASC) has revealed that the number of workplace accidents and serious injuries reported by its members reached an all-time low in 2017.

What were the 2018 Safety Report findings?

NASC members reported no fatalities at all. Out of a total 89 workplace accidents, there were only 17 major injuries – a reduction both in incidents and injuries from the previous year. In particular, falls from heights had reduced by 46% compared to 2016 and no members of the public were injured around NASC members’ scaffolding.

As the trade body for access and scaffolding in the UK, NASC provides HSE approved safety and technical guidance for scaffolding contractors, their workforce and their clients. Established in 1945, NASC’s membership currently extends to over 240 leading contracting firms, scaffolding manufacturers and businesses, representing more than 16,000 scaffolding workers. NASC’s members undergo strict auditing to make sure that they comply with the highest possible standards of safety. In this way, NASC provides the construction industry with an assurance that its members will be trained, behave and work according to its benchmark codes of conduct, practice and safety.

The President of NASC commended the latest report’s findings as a demonstration of what can be achieved in terms of reduction of workplace accidents through strict compliance with NASC’s industry benchmark standards. Since 2012 reported numbers and frequency of accidents amongst NASC members have reduced by over a third. He reiterated, however, that workplace falls on the same level to remain prevalent and can lead to serious injury or death. Health and safety compliance remains the key to the reduction of workplace injuries.

What can Boyes Turner do to help?

Boyes Turner’s serious injury lawyers welcome the positive findings of the NASC’s 2018 Safety Report. As experts in brain injury, spinal injury severe disability, mesothelioma and asbestos-related disease claims, we help clients who have been disabled by accidents in the workplace, in hospitals, and on the roads, or who have lost family members upon whom they were financially dependent to obtain the rehabilitation and financial compensation that they need to rebuild their lives.

If you or a member of your family has been seriously injured after a fall from height at work and would like to discuss a claim please contact a member of our specialist personal injury team on 0118 952 7137 or email piclaims@boyesturner.com.

Cycle-Smart Foundation's 20th Anniversary

We were invited to the Cycle Smart Foundation's 20th Anniversary Grand Gala Dinner and had a wonderful time celebrating the work of this long standing and influential charity. 

What is Cycle Smart?

Cycle Smart Foundation is a charity dedicated to saving young people’s lives by promoting all aspects of safer cycling, in particular, the use of cycle helmets.

They were founded by Angie Lee, a former paediatric nurse, who through her work, saw the devastation that head injury caused not only to the child but to the family and friends.

Since its conception the charity has grown in its drive and commitment to advocate for children and young people. It is a national resource working with parents, teachers, police, road safety officers, government departments, healthcare professionals and children themselves by promoting and providing educational programmes in schools throughout the UK and Northern Ireland.

20th Anniversary Grand Gala Dinner

Cycle Smart recently celebrated their 20th Anniversary in style! Angie was joined by over 150 guests and, via pre-recorded videos, by David Coulthard and Aaron Heslehurst who both gave their support and congratulations on the anniversary and offered auction prizes.

Guests were entertained by a magician and DJ and partook in a raffle and auction. There were some fantastic prizes which included a VIP ticket to be the guest of David Coulthard at this year’s British Grand Prix, 2 night stay at Portforton Castle and a trip in a 1908 Silver Ghost and a week-long stay in a villa in the Algarve.

Maisie and her mum Jane Godden-Hall were also in attendance; Maisie is a teenage campaigner for the mandatory wearing of cycle helmets by children. If you want to learn more you can watch the video she made with Hampshire police and sign her petition.

Angie commented:

“a fantastic and successful evening raising over £25,000 for the Foundation in its 20th year. The evening not just raised funds, but celebrated our achievements among friends and families affected by the tragedy caused by a cycle accident”

Boyes Turner supports Cycle-Smart Foundation, a local Reading charity who campaign for safer cycling particularly amongst younger children.

If you or someone you know has been seriously injured following a cycling accident please contact us on 0118 952 7137 or email piclaims@boyesturner.com for a free no obligation advice on pursuing a personal injury claim.

Meningitis and brain injury - what can you expect?

Boyes Turner are supporting Meningitis Now’s #MayMayhem campaign in which the focus is on putting the fun into workplace fundraising to support the charity’s important work. 

Message behind the #maymayhem

Meanwhile, the message behind the mayhem is that meningitis kills. It also maims, leaving its survivors permanently disabled by limb loss and damage to the brain.

Whilst many of the physical effects of an acquired brain injury give rise to obvious disability, other consequences of the damage to the child’s developing brain can be more subtle, appearing and changing over time, making them harder to understand.

Emotional and behavioural after-effects of brain injury are often misinterpreted, particularly in a growing child or teenager. It is important for the child’s parents, wider family and school to recognise that the child may not be able to control or understand their own emotions and challenging behaviour, and to seek appropriate specialist help to support the child.

What emotional and behavioural changes can I expect following my child’s meningitis brain injury?

Meningitis Now lists some of the common difficulties that children may experience after a brain injury:

  • Tiredness leads to frustration and irritability when the child finds it difficult to return quickly to former activities or struggles to cope at school.
  • Mood swings, such as crying or laughing more quickly, temper tantrums, bedwetting and nightmares are common in the recovery period. Tiredness only makes them worse.
  • Anxiety, depression and loss of confidence come from realising that the illness has changed their life, worry about becoming ill again and coping with the long-term effects of their injury.
  • Apathy, lethargy, despondency and poor motivation can be misinterpreted as laziness, whereas they can arise from damage to the areas of the brain which affect arousal and initiation of activity. Without support, the child can slip beneath the radar at school, thereby failing to achieve their potential, and may become socially isolated.
  • Anger and aggression come from impairment of the brain’s ability to control behaviour and from frustration or struggling to cope emotionally with their injury.
  • Obsessive behaviour and lack of flexibility impede a child’s ability to adapt to different situations, including socially.
  • Disinhibition and sexually inappropriate behaviour in which the older child has no insight into the consequences of their behaviour. This exposes them to added risk of harm, causing friction with parents and teachers, and isolates them from friends who find them embarrassing.

These behaviours can arise from neurological damage to the brain impeding the child’s ability to regulate their own behaviour but also from the child’s psychological reaction to their illness and its impact on their life, their former activities, friendships and independence. Cognitive impairment makes it difficult for the child to communicate their frustration and everything is made worse by fatigue, anxiety and confusion. The child’s pre-injury personality and the dynamics and stresses within the family will also affect the child’s behaviour. Medication, such as anti-convulsants, also affect the child’s tiredness, behaviour and learning capability.

At Boyes Turner we understand that following meningitis or a brain injury the damage may go far beyond the physical. We work with educational, clinical and neuropsychologists, and child psychiatrists to assess the full effect of the injury and to secure the funding necessary to provide rehabilitation, therapy and ongoing support.

Our clinical negligence lawyers also work closely with our Special Educational Needs team to ensure that the child receives appropriate SEN assistance, whether that is in a mainstream or specialist school. By ensuring that we fully understand the child’s needs we are able to secure for them higher levels of compensation.

If you are caring for a child who has suffered a brain injury as a result of negligent medical care please contact us on 0118 952 7219 or email us on mednegclaims@boyesturner.com.

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