When reflecting upon the impact I’ve had as a medical negligence solicitor representing a family or client in a case, I never judge my own performance or success on the amount of compensation I have secured.
Yes, the figures can sometimes make for headlines in newspapers, particularly when such payments reach six, or perhaps seven figures, but the true test of any settlement is the difference it makes to a client’s quality of life.
“Nottingham family win multi-million pound High Court payout for brain-damaged son” read the headline in a local newspaper when Hudgell Solicitors supported the family of George Muir.
George had been left with severe cerebral palsy as a result of the brain damage he suffered due to oxygen starvation during his delivery. He was left unable to speak properly, with limited use of his left hand and learning difficulties, needing the care of others for the rest of his life.
The newspaper headline focussed on the ‘multi-million pound payout’ for George and his family, but the case was about so much more. Our legal representation was certainly not focussed simply on securing a large settlement. It was focussed on securing the appropriate one.
Our team worked to ensure George was given the help and support he needed to be able to live his life as happily and as comfortably as possible.
Our case ensured interim payments were made during the lengthy legal process to help make adaptations to life at home, ensuring George’s quality of life, and those around him, was made as comfortable and as easy as it could possibly be, as soon as possible.
Such interim payments, which can be used to help fund new properties or major home adaptations, various therapies, carers’ aids and equipment, can revolutionise the lives of the families of children with cerebral palsy.
As a company, we can look back at that case with satisfaction. We helped George and his family to an improved quality of life.
It is interesting to see that improving quality of life for those with cerebral palsy is a key issue being addressed as part of today’s World Cerebral Palsy Day.
Despite it being the most common physical disability in childhood – a permanent, lifelong disability which affects an average of one in every 500 live births and over 17 million people across the world, the Cerebral Palsy Alliance says those with cerebral palsy remain ‘one of the least understood communities in the world.’
It is hoped the events held across the world today will raise awareness of the need to do more.
It is calling for more money to be spent on prevention and support, to help give doctors and therapists better knowledge to be able diagnose and treat people, and for teachers to have better training, to ensure people with cerebral palsy get the education they deserve.
Most importantly, says the Cerebral Palsy Alliance, the aim is to prevent it from being ‘far too easy to keep people with cerebral palsy out of sight, out of mind, and out of options in communities around the world.”
It is also calling for improved access to medical and therapeutic care, which it says is ‘essential to helping our community members live the fullest possible life’.
Our team at Hudgell Solicitors are delighted to support today’s events, and we’ll continue to offer our specialist support to families across the UK.
Often, we find they have a simple a need to understand what has happened, and to ascertain why and how their child has been affected. They want answers and accountability, and support for the future.
Whilst cerebral palsy is not a progressive condition, it is one that can lead to complications unless appropriately managed, and we know children often benefit from highly specialised intervention at an early stage, and careful monitoring throughout their development, so acting fast is imperative.
As I said at the beginning of this piece, no amount of money can make up for an unwell child, but the compensation packages we seek to secure are always centred around helping families to live as near normal a life as they possibly can.
We look to help reduce the stress and strain of looking after a child with considerable disabilities, and ultimately, improve quality of life for all.
That is a key theme of today’s campaign. It’s something which should never be forgotten, and a target we’ll always aspire to.