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£4.5 Million Compensation For Baby Girl

Our North East firm recently secured an award of compensation of £4.5 million for a baby girl who was sent home by her GP when she was suffering from a serious condition, as John Hall explains....

LM was five months old when her mother took her to see her GP because she had become floppy and could not cry normally or cough.  The doctor examined her and recorded in his notes that she looked well and was definitely not floppy.  He sent her home with Calpol and antibiotics.

Her parents were not happy and the following day they took her to the A&E Department of their local hospital.  She was noted to have reduced power in her arms and legs, and was admitted to a ward.  Unfortunately by the following morning she was completely tetraplegic.  She was transferred to a different hospital and it was discovered that she was suffering from a spinal haematoma.  She had to undergo emergency surgery to evacuate the haematoma.  

She has been left paraplegic which will mean that she will require specialist care for her entire life.  

Her parents were understandably upset and had consulted a different firm of solicitors initially.  They had obtained some expert evidence and had an opinion from a Senior Barrister who had advised that there were no reasonable prospects of successfully pursuing a claim against the GP.  I disagreed,  and I was happy to deal with the matter on a no win, no fee basis on LM’s behalf.  I was also able to secure the services of another Barrister on that basis.

I intimated claims against both the GP and the first hospital that LM had attended.  Both parties admitted that they had breached their duty of care to LM.  However, the GP argued that earlier diagnosis would not have made any difference to the outcome.  The hospital similarly argued that even if LM had surgery earlier, she would have still had permanent serious problems.  

All of the parties obtained expert medical evidence from Consultant Neurosurgeons.  Unfortunately these experts were unable to agree as to what the outcome would have been had there been no delays, either by the GP or the first hospital, and what symptoms LM would have been left with, if any, in any event.

The matter was due to go to trial, but the Defendants agreed to a meeting in an effort to resolve the matter without going to court.  We had a long day of negotiations and whilst the Defendants were not prepared to agree any apportionment of liability, they did eventually offer a lump sum payment of £4.5 million.  The settlement was approved by a Senior High Court Judge.

I was very pleased at the outcome I achieved for LM and hope that the compensation will enable her to have the very best of care that she will require for her entire life.