Medical negligence case highlights healthcare inequalities for individuals with pre-existing disabilities

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Enable Law, the specialist medical negligence and personal injury firm, has secured a £900K settlement figure from University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust for the family of a child whose life was changed irrevocably due to failings in his medical care.


Shortly after birth, Toby was diagnosed with a rare chromosomal abnormality that caused significant intellectual disabilities and some physical limitations. Because his condition was recognised early, Toby received regular medical attention growing up and every new symptom was attributed to his chromosomal abnormality. As he approached adulthood, Toby experienced a sudden paralysis on his left side, a symptom that was not characteristic of his condition.

Although initial assessments attributed Toby’s paralysis to his existing condition, a CT scan at another hospital showed that he had suffered a stroke. Further investigation revealed an undiagnosed heart defect that was not detected during his childhood.

Whilst Toby was recovering from his stroke and awaiting heart surgery to treat the heart defect, it was discovered that he also had a clotting disorder that required medication to prevent further complications, including further strokes. Unfortunately, this medication was not correctly administered at the time of Toby’s heart surgery, and Toby suffered a second stroke that changed his life irrevocably.

Toby’s parents contacted specialist medical negligence solicitor Kym Provan, Partner at Enable Law. Kym worked with the family to better understand what went wrong in Toby’s treatment which led-to University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust to admit liability for the second stroke, acknowledging the negligence that contributed to Toby’s suffering.

The Trust accepted that the second stroke had had a significantly adverse effect on Toby’s life. It acknowledged that the consequences of the second stroke mean that Toby requires substantially more care and support than he would otherwise have needed.

Kym Provan, Partner at Enable Law, said: “Toby’s case highlights the urgent need to address healthcare disparities for individuals with learning and physical disabilities. A report by Mencap revealed alarming statistics: 38% of people with learning disabilities die from preventable causes compared to 9% of the general population.

“This case shows us how important it is for medical professionals not to simply attribute a problem to a pre-existing disability, but to properly assess, diagnose and treat the individual. This will enable individuals with learning and physical disabilities to have longer, more independent lives. It also clearly demonstrates the devastating impact a further avoidable injury can have on someone like Toby, who already faces challenges because of learning or physical disabilities. The impact on a person’s independence and quality of life can be disproportionately high in such cases and it is essential that the compensation award accurately reflects the additional needs that the individual now has.

“At Enable Law we support many families and individuals who have experienced negligence within a medical setting, and we are proud to be able to help them safeguard their future through financial security. The settlement for Toby’s family will allow them to give him the support he needs to lead a fulfilling life.”

To find out more about Enable Law’s services please visit: or to get in touch with Kym contact her on:

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