Medical Negligence
Rehabilitation Support

Boy, 17, born with cerebral palsy set for possible £20m damages award after High Court judge rules against NHS Trust

chris moore

Chris Moore

Senior Solicitor & Joint Head of Clinical Negligence

4 min read time

A multi-million pound damages settlement is set to be awarded to a 17-year-old boy after a High Court judge ruled in his favour and against Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust, saying an obstetrician’s crucial evidence could not be relied upon.

The boy, who cannot be named, was represented by Hudgell Solicitors’ joint head of clinical negligence Chris Moore during a cerebral palsy birth injury claim. The case was taken to trial despite continued denials of any wrongdoing by the Trust over many years.

As part of the case it was alleged that an obstetrician failed to give appropriate advice to the boy’s mother in late pregnancy back in 2004, when she had been worried about reduced fetal movements and a community midwife had been concerned her baby may be in the breech position.

The mother claimed an ultrasound scan was performed when she was seen at an antenatal clinic and that she was advised her son’s head was down and he was fully engaged. She said she was told all was well, despite her expressing concern about reduced movements.

This meant she felt reassured and relaxed about continued reduced fetal movements, only returning to hospital four days later as she was concerned at not even feeling any movement when having a warm bath.

Her waters were broken but the labour failed to progress at The City Hospital in Nottingham, and her baby was eventually delivered by caesarean section. The boy suffered permanent damage from chronic partial hypoxia which resulted in asymmetric quadriplegic cerebral palsy.

The medical negligence cerebral palsy trial took place over three days in London’s High Court before Mr Justice Cotter.

An Interim payment of £500,000 was awarded, with a final compensation settlement to be agreed between the parties or determined by the court, with lawyers saying it could be as high as £20m, based on previous settlements in similar cases, and how damages awards are calculated around the needs of life-long care and support.

Mr Moore said: “This was a very significant victory at the High Court for our client and his family as this has been a long-running legal matter in which the defendant has been insistent that a judge would not rule in our favour. As such they made no offers of settling out of court at any time during the litigation process.

“The mother of our client was adamant and clear in her memory that she was scanned on that day, and that she was reassured by the obstetrician that her baby was well and that the lack of movements were not something to be concerned about.

“It was agreed by the parties that if the mother had expressed her concerns regarding reduced movements, she should have been given advice to return to the hospital, and that if such advice had been given, she would have returned and her son would have been born up to two days earlier, without neurological injury.

In considering the evidence, Mr Justice Cotter said he was satisfied the obstetrician had undertaken a scan at the clinic on the day, something she had denied.

He said he believed the boy’s mother’s account was correct as to what took place, that she did raise a concern about reduced fetal movement at the clinic and that she had established a breach of duty.

Mr Moore said he was delighted for his client and his family, who now live in East Yorkshire, having supported them for nine years throughout their cerebral palsy negligence claim, and since the boy was eight years old.

“I am delighted for my client and his family that we have secured this result after so many years of the Trust denying any error had been made. It is a huge result for them and one which could potentially be to a value of £15m to £20m,” he said.

“However, it very disappointing for a family to be made to fight so hard, and endure so many years without the help and support they deserve, when such life-changing mistakes are made.”

Download guide

Life After Birth Injury

Life after birth injury for you and your child.


Related Advice

Related Advice

Expertise. Trust. Authority

View All
hudgell solicitors medical negligence solicitor samantha darwin

Wrongful Births

The term wrongful birth is used when babies are born with injuries or disabilities which medical professionals should have detected during pregnancy. A failure to inform mothers/parents denies them the opportunity to take a very difficult decision as to whether to continue with the pregnancy. Listen to Samantha Darwin, a senior medical negligence solicitor, explain […]

hudgell solicitors medical negligence solicitor samantha darwin

NHS Investigation Reports

What is an NHS Investigation Report and what can you expect from one? These reports are produced by NHS Trusts following an investigation into a serious incident which occurred during a patient’s medical care. They can highlight lapses in treatment and organisational systems, such as appointments not being sent out. Reports should also identify steps […]

Related News

Related News
View All
hudgell solicitors supports calls for a public inquiry into maternity services

Statutory Inquiry now needed as Birth Trauma report reveals ‘shockingly poor care’ across UK’s maternity services

Hudgell Solicitors has renewed its call for a Statutory Inquiry into the standard of Britain’s maternity services as a new report today highlighted the ‘shockingly poor quality’ across the UK. An All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) inquiry into the birth trauma experiences of hundreds of women found good care for pregnant women to be ‘the exception […]

5 min read time
bta logo concept company news feature image

Hudgell Solicitors welcome Birth Trauma Association for new ‘lived experience’ training

In February this year, Hudgells submitted evidence and shared our clients’ experiences of birth trauma as a first-ever parliamentary inquiry on birth trauma was launched. The inquiry report is expected in May. As part of our continued commitment to supporting families who’ve experienced birth trauma and to enable us to be trauma-informed and better understand […]

2 min read time
Start my claim