Failure to treat infection in infant leading to death

The claim was bought for bereavement damages as a result of a client called E who was born in September 2006. She had Downs Syndrome and Wests Syndrome and regularly attended New Cross Hospital due to a wheezy chest which was aggravated by her epilepsy.

At the age of two, following a particularly bad bout of fitting and high temperature she was admitted to New Cross Hospital and then transferred to Leicester Hospital for a period of 10 days where she was ventilated and fitted with a central line. She was then transferred back to New Cross Hospital where they started a Clorazapan infusion into the central line. Unfortunately, E’s temperature began to spike and she had a huge seizure due to her high temperature. Despite being on IV antibiotics she was then transferred to Birmingham Children’s Hospital but unfortunately, she died of multi-organ failure.

Her parents made a formal complaint against the hospital as they believed E should not have been transferred to New Cross Hospital and should have been admitted to Birmingham Children’s Hospital. Following her subsequent discharge from Leicester Hospital to New Cross Hospital there was a lack of nursing staff in the high-dependency unit, they did not have the appropriate equipment or staff to correctly monitor E’s condition. Given that the parents had gone through the complaints procedure and upon review of the medical records I drafted a detailed letter of claim at an early stage without medical evidence inviting the defendants to admit liability due to the limited nature of the value of the claim and there were obvious breaches so that investigations could be centred on quantum.

Whilst the Trust did not make a formal admission they indicated they wanted to settle the claim and we entered into negotiations with them. Due to the trauma, this case had caused the parents we explored whether it would be appropriate to bring a claim for psychological damage however, E’s mother did not wish to undergo a clinical psychological assessment despite clearly displaying signs of such a disorder.

We, therefore, negotiated a settlement with the defendant and accepted the defendant’s Part 36 offer in the sum of £15,000.00. The parents were obviously entitled to a bereavement award however, they were clearly very traumatised by what had happened to their daughter and therefore, the clients wished to accept their offer.

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