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Victory: mum wins £7.1m payout for son left disabled by hospital
8:35am Wednesday 9th January 2013 in News
A BOURNEMOUTH mother is celebrating a massive £7.1million payout from the Royal Bournemouth Hospital after it admitted liability for her son’s disabilities.
Clare Scott, 36, spent almost 14 years locked in a legal battle with the hospital that delivered her first-born son Charlie in 1998.
Despite a normal pregnancy, complications at his birth led to Charlie being diagnosed with spastic quadriplegic hemiplegic athetoid cerebral palsy.
The hospital has admitted his brain injury would have been avoided if they had cared for Clare properly during her labour.
Now 14, Charlie cannot talk, sit up properly or drink by himself and will need care for the rest of his life but is an intelligent and fun-loving boy who enjoys playing with his four younger brothers, Spencer, Harrison, Austin and Willis.
Clare said she realised something was wrong the minute Charlie was born. “He was white, the colour of a piece of paper.
“All his extremities were blue, his lips, fingernails, everything. The midwife who delivered him left the room and they telephoned the flying squad in Poole.
“It was 55 minutes before he breathed on his own, it all kind of happened in slow motion.”
Charlie spent the next month in special care in Poole Hospital and was diagnosed with cerebral palsy when he was six or seven months old.
It’s believed the umbilical cord had been wrapped around Charlie’s shoulders and squashed completely for 20 minutes.
If the midwives had noticed a problem sooner Clare could have gone to Poole for an emergency Caesarean section but Clare was not properly monitored.
“If they had transferred me the odds are it would never have happened.
“They had procedures in place for emergencies but basically none of it ever happened.”
She said her clinical negligence award will be used to buy Charlie specialist equipment and will provide him with a secure future.
“I adore Charlie but life is very hard,” she said.
“He needs constant care and attention. We decided to take action against the hospital when he was nine months old because I knew that something had happened to make him disabled.
“I did it because I want him to be looked after in the future. Social services are brilliant, however every time we need something we have to be assessed and it’s so drawn out. I wanted to be able to say ‘Charlie needs a new wheelchair, let’s go and get him one.’ The hospital admitted liability in 2010 and agreed a settlement last October. Clare said: “It was a really weird feeling. It was just so strange to know that after all that time and all the fighting and the appointments with medics, experts and consultants that that was it.
“We never really discussed how much we might get because nobody really knew.
“To be perfectly honest no amount of compensation makes up for the disability but it’s security and it makes me feel better to know that when I can’t look after him anymore, I will be able to put something else in place.
“My message to others would be don’t give up, no matter how hard it gets.”
Paula Shobbrook, director of nursing and midwifery, said: “We apologise sincerely to Charles and his family for the level of care that they received.
“Since 2010 we have been working together to reach agreement to provide compensation to Charles and his family for Charles’ injuries and provide Charles with some security and the care he requires for the future.”
The Trust admitted in October 2010 that the standard of care afforded to Charles’ mother during the course of her labour and his delivery fell below an acceptable standard.
Had an appropriate standard of care been provided, Charles’ brain injury would have been avoided.
Charlie was represented by Carol Maunder, head of Dutton Gregory solicitors specialist clinical negligence department.
She said that she was delighted with the result that was “well deserved by such a lovely young man”.
She confirmed that once the Trust had admitted liability, they made a number of substantial interim payments which “immediately improved Charlie’s quality of life”.
The final award was approved by the court on October 9 for the amount of £7.1million.
A large proportion of Charlie’s award will be received on an annual periodical payment basis – similar to a pension – to ensure that Charlie continues to receive a suitable 24-hour care package for the rest of his life.
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