Case Study Master JXM (By his Mother and Litigation Friend Ms CXE) v Barts Health NHS Trust
Price Slater Gawne’s South East of England based Consultant Solicitor Peter Flory secures over £7.3 Million settlement for a child who suffered brain damage during his birth at the Royal London hospital in 2005.
On 10th November 2014 the High Court approved a damages settlement of £7,316,220 for a young boy who suffered a lack of oxygen at birth causing serious brain injury and severe cerebral palsy.
Peter Flory was instructed in early 2013 and with the assistance of leading Barrister Lizanne Gumbel QC soon established there had been a negligent error on the part of the midwifery staff managing the delivery of JXM’s mother. Ms CXE was being monitored by way of cardiotocography or CTG for short. This is a method of measuring and recording both the baby’s heart rate and the mother’s uterine contractions during the later stages of labour. A typical base-line heart rate for a foetus in utero would be 140-160 beats per minute (BPM).
The CTG trace was briefly discontinued to allow mother to have a bath. When the CTG was reconnected the heart rate recorded was only 115 / 120 BPM. It had detected the mother’s heart rate from her uterus and not the baby’s heart rate.
In 2005, the RCOG (Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists) Guidelines made it clear that when there is a difference in the heart rate in stages of tracing as there was here, the midwifery staff was required to take mother’s pulse and cross reference with the trace. There was a negligent failure to undertake this basic check which failure meant the staff missed a fall in JXM’s heart rate which showed foetal distress and which would have led to his early delivery by Caesarean Section.
JXM was born and soon developed difficulties with feeding and eventually with walking and it became clear he had global developmental delay and moderately severe motor impairment.
These alleged failures were put to the Trust’s Solicitors in a formal legal document called the Particulars of Claim which resulted in a prompt admission of liability and judgment was entered in the High Court with damages to be assessed.
Peter was able to obtain large interim payments for the child to purchase a ground floor accommodation with suitable adaptations and equipment, an adapted motor vehicle with rear lift for his wheelchair and much needed physiotherapy treatment.
Barts Health NHS Trust now manages The Royal London Hospital. They apologised to JXM and his family for causing the brain injury and agreed compensation for him in the form of a lump sum payment of £1,675,000 together with periodical payments from 15/12/2014 of £100,000 for care, and £39,000 for aids, equipment, and treatment together with Deputyship expenses. The periodical payments for care will be increased to £143,000 from 15/12/2017 and to £222,000 from 15/12/2024. The Trust also agreed to pay JXM loss of earnings each year for the rest of his life from 15/12/2023