Landmark settlement secured for family of a young Northampton girl with Cerebral Palsy
5 Min Read
A young Northampton girl with Cerebral Palsy, has been awarded compensation for the injuries she sustained at birth as a result of failings in maternity care. This money will fund Megan’s care, equipment, therapies, and accommodation for the rest of her life.
Megan’s mum, Sarah, was sent home from hospital the day before she gave birth, even though she told staff she was 13 days past her due date, felt like her baby was moving less, and had started having contractions.
The hospital trust responsible for Megan and Sarah’s care has now admitted that if Sarah’s concerns had not been ignored, Megan would have been delivered earlier and not suffered the catastrophic brain injury she sustained during birth.
Kym Provan, Partner at Enable Law, led on the case and has worked with the family for a number of years to understand and assess Megan’s needs both now and in the future.
Megan, who is now 11-years old, has significant learning and communication difficulties and needs round-the-clock-care. Sarah has had to give up her job as a scientist to care for Megan and this has also affected her mental health. Megan’s father has also had to take on a less demanding and lower paid job so that he can be on-hand to help care for Megan when needed.
Sarah, Megan’s mum, commented: “Megan was let down by the maternity care system. I voiced my concerns during my final days of pregnancy and was not listened to. I believe there were many faults with the care provided to Megan and me in the period leading up to Megan’s delivery, including inadequate monitoring and delays for a doctor review. This was compounded by the refusal after Megan’s birth to admit the mistakes that had been made, and there was a lack of support from the Trust afterwards. I now want other expectant mothers to trust their own instincts and to feel empowered to voice any concerns they may have about their pregnancy, in the hope that no other child has to go through the same trauma as Megan.
“I hope anyone reading or hearing about this has the confidence to speak out about any worries they have with the care being provided to them, and to pursue these with the midwives or maternity wards. There needs to be an increase in training and supervision for midwives in dealing with parental concerns, as mine were not taken seriously, along with those of many other expectant mothers. When problems have occurred, communication between the medical staff and families, needs to be clear but sensitive. It should be recognised that when a child is born with significant health problems or disabilities, parents will need emotional and psychological, as well as practical support.
“In addition, there needs to be much more support put in place for those families with children that have Cerebral Palsy, whether they have a claim against the NHS or not. The therapies and facilities that are available through the NHS, Social Services and the Local Education Authority are inadequate for children with complex disabilities and needs like Megan. Under the present system, families have to fight really hard and repeatedly for every little bit of help, causing additional anxiety and stress.
“The support we have received from friends, family, the charity PEEPS-HIE and Enable Law has been invaluable. This has been a long process with many difficulties, which has caused so much stress for the family. Now the case is closed, Megan will have a lifetime home that is safe and adapted to her needs and she will have 24-hour specialist care and support throughout her life. It will also enable her to enjoy, the often-overlooked, simple pleasures of life: a special needs tricycle for her to explore the great outdoors and access to symbol software that helps her to read and communicate.
“Enable Law supported me and my family by being patient, kind and understanding of our needs. We’d like to take this opportunity to thank Kym Provan and Caroline Harrison QC for working tirelessly to secure the settlement for Megan, which will enable her to live her best life. We are relieved that Megan will now have the care that she needs and deserves.”
Kym Provan, Partner at Enable Law, said: “This is a very substantial win for the family. Cerebral palsy affects every child differently and in Megan’s case her injuries were even more complex because she also sustained damage to her hearing and hip at around the time of her birth. However, we worked with Megan’s family to secure an outcome that will benefit Megan for the rest of her life and hopefully make that life a little bit more comfortable.
“Megan’s cognitive and neurological functions mean she will need permanent care and support and will not be able to live independently, so we had to make sure the settlement and support reflected this. We worked with the hospital trust and their legal representatives to make sure that as soon as fault was admitted, Megan’s family were given enough money to enable them to bring in the external support that she needed. Megan’s parents have been incredible throughout the process.”
The landmark settlement of almost £19 million has been secured to ensure Megan will be able to have access to the right services, accommodation and equipment to meet her needs and have a full and fulfilling life.
Enable Law is a sponsor of this years’ Action Cerebral Palsy Westminster reception. On the 21 March 2022, lawyers from Enable Law will be joining the charity as well as MPs, policy makers, philanthropists and senior decision makers in the disability campaigning world to talk about Cerebral Palsy and the launch of the charity’s impact report for 2022.