Q: Nearly 3 years ago I was expecting my first child. I went into labour nearly 2 months early and during labour my umbilical cord became wrapped around my baby's neck. This was not picked up quickly enough and the doctor took 30 minutes to unwrap the cord in delivery. As a result of the lack of oxygen my son suffered permanent brain damage and he has now been diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy. However, because he is so young the doctors are not able to tell me how his disability will affect him in the long term. I have been advised that the brain damage could mean he may be autistic too. I am concerned that he will probably need specialist care and support throughout his life. Can I make any claim for my son?
A You may be able to make a claim for clinical negligence on behalf of your son. The treating doctors, midwives and nurses had a duty of care to you and your baby to look out for any warning signs and take appropriate action quickly to ensure that no harm came to either you or your baby.
To prove that the hospital have been negligent you will need to show that the actions of those treating you and your baby fell below standards of the reasonably competent practitioner in that field. This will need to be evidenced through medico-legal evidence. As your son is so young, his needs will need to be assessed over time and the costs of past and future care required will be included within any claim.
Medical negligence claims are complex and you should contact a specialist solicitor to discuss your son’s case. Your solicitor will explain how the claim may be funded and how you can be protected from the risk of losing.