Guy’s and St Thomas’ forced to pay out £37m after maternity failing left boy needing constant care for life

Josh Salisbury (21 July, 2020)

The boy's near-total starvation of oxygen left him with complex disabilities

34403Exterior of St Thomas' Hospital

Guy’s and St Thomas’ Trust has been forced to pay out more than £30m after admitting failings of maternity care led to a boy needing round-the-clock care for the rest of his life.

The High Court settlement thought to be as much as £37 million is reportedly one of the largest maternity care claims made in the history of the NHS.

The boy at the centre of the claim was born in 2013, but staff at the Trust did not realise he was in the ‘breech’ position.

Once midwives did realise, they performed an emergency c-section, but the delay meant the baby was starved of oxygen and suffered permanent brain damage. He cannot be named for legal reasons.

The failing means he was born with profound learning disabilities, a complex sensory processing impairment, and behavioural difficulties. 

His parents slammed the Trust for not admitting liability immediately.

The consequence is that the extraordinary cost of having a baby with special needs has to be supported by the family … until a decision is made on the trust’s liability,” they said.

“The outcome differs widely depending on the social class of the family, which is truly revolting.”

But the Trust said it had admitted liability early in the High Court case, and that it was truly sorry for the failings in the baby’s care.

We are very sorry that the care provided to the family during the birth of their child fell short of the high standards we aim to provide to all our patients,” it said in a statement.

“We also recognise and are truly sorry for the life-long consequences of the delivery for the whole family.

“We sincerely hope the settlement approved by the High Court, which comprises annual payments and a lump sum, will ensure that the family can plan for the future, secure in the knowledge that they will be able to provide the best possible care and support to meet the needs of their child throughout their life.”

The case was described as a tragedy by Suzanne White, the parents’ solicitor. 

She described the compensation payout as “one of the largest of its kind” saying it “reflects the complex needs which have resulted from the injuries sustained at the time of his birth.”

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