Matthew Stockwell secures more than £15 million for boy who suffered brain damage at birth

December 15, 2021

Matthew Stockwell from Exchange Chambers (instructed by Simpson Millar and led by Christopher Melton QC) has secured a compensation package in excess of £15 million for a boy who suffered brain damage at birth and went on to develop cerebral palsy as a result of delays in his delivery.

The £15million care package, which includes a lump sum payment of £5.3million, as well as annual payments for the remainder of the child’s life, will now be used to fund a lifetime of care, therapies, specialist equipment and accommodation.

The settlement was confirmed during an approval hearing at Manchester High Court following the family’s eight-year battle for justice, during which the hospital where he was born admitted that failures in his care directly contributed to his condition.

The child, known only as PW and who cannot be named for legal reasons, was born at Liverpool Women’s Hospital in 2013, when his mother went into early labour at just 38 weeks pregnant.

However, while the baby was born by emergency caesarean section as a result of complications caused by what is known as a uterine rupture, resulting in the slowing of the baby’s heartrate, the Trust later admitted a breach in its duty of care and that an ‘earlier delivery should have occurred’.

Following legal action brought by medical negligence experts at law firm Simpson Millar against Liverpool Women’s Hospital NHS Foundation Trust on behalf of the family, the Trust also admitted that if earlier delivery had occurred PW ‘would have avoided all neurological injury’.

Commenting on the case, Matthew Stockwell said: “It was a delight and privilege helping this lovely family, although I sincerely wish these maternity safety errors were eradicated once and for all. Each child matters, and one preventable error is one too many. As in other cerebral palsy and severe brain injury cases, the strength, warmth and resilience of this family were humbling.”

Speaking on behalf of the family their lawyer, Jodie Cook from Simpson Millar said that while the severity of PW’s condition – which impacts his development, mobility and his ability to communicate – means he will never be able to live independently, the funds will ensure that he can live to the ‘fullest potential’.

She explained: “Because these payments will run for the rest of my client’s life, the reality is that the value of this claim could well exceed the fifteen-million-pound estimate. However, what’s far more important than the numbers, is the fact that this compensation will offer my client security and peace of mind for his future.”

Following an admission of liability from the Trust in 2016 PW was awarded interim payments on account of damages which ensured that PW had access to care and rehabilitation whilst the case was ongoing.

“It is imperative that we work together with NHS Resolution in the client’s best interests in complex, birth injury cases such as this,” Jodie said. “Establishing access to the rehabilitation, accommodation, specialist equipment, education and wider community care that the injured party needs as quickly as possible can have hugely beneficial outcomes for their quality of life in the longer term.”

Speaking about the outcome of the case, PW’s mum said: “I would like to take this opportunity to thank Jodie Cook and the team at Simpson Millar for their support, hard work and sincerity. It is a relief to finally get to this point and know our son’s needs will be met for the rest of his life. We know that nothing can change his injuries but knowing we can help to support him and use the compensation to put in place the substantial care package that he needs is of some consolation.

“We are eternally grateful to Simpson Millar for everything that they have achieved on our son’s behalf. They will always be part of our family going forward and will have the opportunity to see our son progress to his full potential now he has all that he needs.”

PW’s mum also expressed her thanks to both barristers working alongside Simpson Millar throughout the case.