Benjamin, one of identical twins, was born prematurely at 25 weeks gestation. He currently lives in London with his family. At birth he suffered a low grade Intraventricular haemorrhage which is an unfortunate but common complication of prematurity. His IVH was treated successfully and Benjamin was developing normally, albeit with some hydrocephalus (a swelling of the ventricles caused by accumulation of cerebrospinal fluid). Benjamin’s paediatricians made several attempts to treat the hydrocephalus and ultimately inserted a mechanical shunt to drain fluid from his brain into his stomach.
Shortly after successful insertion of the shunt Benjamin became very unwell. He was admitted to the Children’s University Hospital, Temple Street where he was incorrectly diagnosed as suffering from gastroenteritis. Despite numerous requests from Benjamin’s medical team, the neurosurgical team in the hospital failed to tap Benjamin’s shunt to test his cerebrospinal fluid for signs of infection. In fact, Benjamin’s shunt was infected and caused meningitis which was allowed to progress for three days before the infection was diagnosed and the shunt removed. As a result of the three day negligent delay, Benjamin went on to suffer a pontine infarction (or stroke) and continues to suffer from severe cerebral palsy and global development delay.
Liability in the case was denied for three years and ultimately admitted the day before the case was due to commence in the High Court. After one day of hearing on the damages that should be awarded in the case the parties withdrew to engage in settlement discussions and ultimately it was agreed that the Defendants would pay for Benjamin’s care needs for the next three years as well as his accommodation, loss of earnings and general damages. This settlement will allow the family to acquire much-needed suitable accommodation in London and to put in place a full and comprehensive care package.
At the ruling of the settlement Counsel for the Defendant hospital offered Benjamin and his parents an apology for the deficiencies in care Benjamin received and the injuries he sustained. Mr Justice Cross congratulated Benjamin’s parents on their care of Benjamin to date and the terms of the settlement that had been negotiated by his legal team.
The case will return to court in three years for assessment of Benjamin’s future care needs for life.
If you have any further queries, please contact Michael Boylan, Partner and Head of Medical Negligence Group.
18 April 2016