Recognising the symptoms of Cerebral Palsy

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Recognising the symptoms of Cerebral Palsy

 March is Cerebral Palsy Awareness Month. This non-progressive condition affects a lot of families in the UK, and worldwide, and impacts the whole family.

No two people experience cerebral palsy in the same way. Some cannot walk while others can run, some may be able to talk for England, others will find communicating difficult.

Each affected individual will face their own unique challenges. CP occurs when the brain suffers an injury before, during or soon after birth interfering with the messages between the brain and the body making movement and muscle co-ordination difficult.

Recognising the symptoms of cerebral palsy isn’t always obvious until a child reaches the age of two or three and may include some of the following symptoms:

·         Missing developmental milestones

·         Body is too stiff / too floppy

·         Weak arms or legs

·         Fidgety or clumsy

·         Random, uncontrollable movements

·         Walking on tiptoes

·         Problems with speech, vision or learning

The time before, during and shortly after birth is critical. If mother and baby are not carefully monitored during this time, cerebral palsy can occur if the baby’s brain suffers a bleed or deprivation of oxygen, if an infection is caught during pregnancy and is not appropriately treated, and if meningitis or a serious head injury is suffered during this sensitive period.

A small number of CP cases are caused by avoidable medical negligence. This can happen if one of the following medical errors take place:

·         Giving the wrong medication

·         Inadequate monitoring of the baby

·         No response or non-timely response to changes in foetal statistics or signs of distress

·         Failure to carry out appropriate tests

·         Deprivation of oxygen

Cerebral palsy is a lifelong condition with no cure and we understand that living with CP has an impact on the whole family. We specialise in working with families affected by CP and understand the impact that this has both now, and in the future.

We understand the specialist needs from finding and funding the right therapies, to buying the right equipment and making necessary home adaptations to make life easier.

Compensation can be sought if your child’s CP has been caused as a result of avoidable medical negligence. We have a strong track record of securing significant settlements to help families living with cerebral palsy get the support they need and cover the costs of the following:

·         Future medical care

·         Therapies including speech, language, physiotherapy and hydrotherapy

·         Home adaptations

·         Equipment such as sensory equipment or wheelchairs

·         Carers and other special arrangements

If you believe that your child has cerebral palsy due to avoidable medical negligence, contact a member of our specialist cerebral palsy medical negligence team for a free initial consultation on 01253 766 559.

Read more about the families that we have helped here.

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Blackpool Victoria Hospital worst in the country for A&E waiting times

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Blackpool Victoria Hospital worst in the country for A&E waiting times

Blackpool Victoria Hospital’s A&E department is the worst in England for hitting the 4-hour maximum waiting time for patients according to new NHS figures. 

The hospital only managed to see 40.1% of A&E patients within four hours of their arrival in December 2017, compared to a national average of 77.3% and against an NHS-wide target of 95%. No other English NHS Trust fell below 57%. Additionally, when looking at A&E patients across England who were forced to wait over 12 hours to be seen, more than 1 in 7 were in Blackpool Victoria.

With timely treatment often essential when dealing with A&E patients, these figures for Blackpool Victoria Hospital represent a potentially significant threat to patient safety.

Wendy Swift, Chief Executive of the Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and Chairman of the Fylde Coast A&E Delivery Board, said in a press release: 

“The health system across the Fylde was under severe and sustained pressure over the Christmas period and this challenging situation continued into the New Year. During this time pressures on our services led to an unusually large number of A&E breaches in early January. 

“Our primary concern during this period was the safety of patients and the compassion and commitment of staff ensured that the level of patient care remained high through these challenging times.”

Ms Swift went on to explain: 

“We have been undertaking extensive work to stream non-emergency patients into more appropriate settings such as our walk-in centres and our urgent care centre, working with local GPs. That means the most acutely ill patients with complex needs are treated in the emergency department and they need more care and attention from our senior clinical teams prior to admission to ensure they get the best possible care.”

This latest scandal comes in the wake of the revelation in September 2017 that Blackpool Teaching Hospital NHS Trust has one of the highest rates of unnecessary deaths of any NHS trust in England. It was found that the Trust had experienced an unexpectedly high number of deaths in the 12 months up to March 2017 – the second year in the row that this has been the case.

The figures for unnecessary deaths are generated by comparing the actual number of deaths in an NHS trust to predictions made by the Summary Hospital-level Mortality Indicator (SHMI) scheme. The SHMI figures are based on various factors and are designed to show how many patients would be expected to die at a specific hospital if were run to an acceptable standard.

Blackpool Victoria Hospital was also previously highlighted in a 2013 review by the NHS’s medical director looking into 13,000 needless deaths across 14 NHS trusts.

Unfortunately, this pattern of failings at Blackpool Victoria Hospital reflects our own experience dealing with clients who are former patients of the hospital. We have supported a number of people pursuing medical negligence claims against Blackpool Teaching Hospital NHS Trust due to failings in the care they received. 

While we have achieved success for many of these clients, securing substantial financial settlements in a number of cases, the need for this kind of action strongly suggests that significant improvements need to be made at Blackpool Victoria Hospital and throughout the local NHS trust.

If you believe you have been a victim of medical negligence at Blackpool Victoria Hospital or anywhere else in England and Wales, we can offer the support you need to claim compensation. 

You can get in touch with our highly experienced medical negligence solicitors now by calling 01253 766 559 or emailing dr@addies.co.uk. Please be assured that any information you share with us will be treated with the strictest confidence.

 

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Time to open up about traumatic births, says Blackpool lawyer

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Time to open up about traumatic births, says Blackpool lawyer

Opening up about traumatic childbirth breaks the taboo, helps heal emotional wounds, and lets people know they are not alone.

That’s according to a Blackpool medical negligence solicitor who has praised tennis star Serena Williams for talking about her experiences. “Raising awareness both among professionals and the general public, helps to reduce risk,” said Diane Rostron.

“Women who have suffered traumatic deliveries often feel very alone. Simply knowing they are not the only person who has been through such an experience can be very helpful.” In an interview with Vogue, Williams said she had undergone a series of operations following the birth of her daughter, who was delivered by emergency caesarean section.

The 36-year-old, 23-time Grand Slam champion was in hospital for more than a week, after blood clots in her lungs led to a coughing fit that reopened her C-section wound. “Sometimes I get really down and feel like, man, I can’t do this,” she told the fashion magazine. "I’ve broken down I don’t know how many times. Or I’ll get angry about the crying, then sad about being angry, and then guilty, like, ‘Why do I feel so sad when I have a beautiful baby?’ The emotions are insane.”

Diane said this kind of thinking was quite common, and that breaking the taboo was key to helping women realising they are not alone. Knowing what to expect also helps, which is another reason people should speak about their experiences. “Minor degrees of trauma to the baby and to mum are actually quite common,” said Diane, adding this might include cuts and bruises, and forceps and ventouse marks to the baby, or cuts and bruises to the perineum in women.

“Many babies recover without any lasting problems. Some who lose a lot of blood become anaemic and may require blood transfusions.” Serious birth trauma, however, is rare, and the risk can be minimized, she went on. “The risk of it can be minimized by mums making sure that they attend antenatal appointments and when they go into labour, seeking advice early. “Never feel intimidated about asking midwives and obstetricians for advice.”

According to the charity the Birth Trauma Association, traumatic births can lead to post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). This can lead to the persistent re-experiencing of the event, through memories, flashbacks and/or nightmares, as well as difficulties sleeping or concentrating. Sufferers may also feel angry, irritable, jumpy or ‘on their guard’ all the time.

“It is important to remember that PTSD is a normal response to a traumatic experience. The re-experiencing of the event with flashbacks accompanied by genuine anxiety and fear are beyond the sufferer's control. “They are the mind's way of trying to make sense of an extremely scary experience and are not a sign individual 'weakness' or inability to cope,” said the charity.

Diane agreed, and said anyone worried that mistakes were made during the birth of their child should seek professional advice and complain to the hospital “Mistakes do sometimes happen, especially when maternity units were understaffed. “Try to find out exactly what happened and put together a diary of events as they unfolded,” she said. 

If your family has suffered a significant injury as a result of medical negligence, contact our friendly team on 01253 766 559.

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Coroners to investigate stillbirths – what this means for birth safety

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Coroners to investigate stillbirths – what this means for birth safety

In November 2017, the Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, announced plans for a new maternity strategy aimed at reducing the number of stillbirths in the UK. A key part of this plan is offering an independent investigation to families who suffer a stillbirth or life changing birth injury to their child to find out what went wrong. This is intended to help identify if mistakes were made before, during or immediately after the birth.

There have long been calls for it to be made a legal requirement for the deaths of stillborn babies to be referred to coroners. While some coroners do request that they be informed of all stillbirths, this was not enforceable or universally the case. With the UK having one of the worst rates of still birth in the western world (currently 4.5 per 1000 births) being able to investigate the circumstances surrounding these deaths is essential to help identify where mistakes are being made and improve birth safety.

 The Chief Coroner, Judge Mark Lucraft QC, had previously highlighted the issue that doctors are not legally required to report deaths to a coroner in his 2017 annual report to the Lord Chancellor. This means that opportunities are potentially being missed to learn from mistakes that were made by medical staff during a pregnancy or birth that resulted in the baby’s death.

 Under the new plans, any family who experiences a stillbirth, early neonatal death or severe brain injury will be referred to the new Healthcare Safety Investigation Branch, who will look into the circumstances surrounding the death or injury. Additionally, full-term stillbirths will now routinely be investigated by coroners.

 The aim of this new strategy is to ensure that where mistakes are being made in the care pregnant women and their babies receive before, during and after a birth, the reasons are identified so lessons can be learned.

 Mr Hunt said: “Countless mothers and fathers who have suffered like this say that the most important outcome for them is making sure lessons are learnt so that no-one else has to endure the same heartbreak. These important changes will help us to make ‎that promise in the future.”

 The Department of Health and Social Care also announced that it is bringing forward the date by which it intends to halve rates of stillbirths, neonatal and maternal deaths, and brain injuries occurring during or soon after birth from 2030 to 2025.

 It has to be hoped that, by standardising practices around referring stillbirths to coroners and giving families the option to have their child’s death or birth injury independently investigated, the number of stillbirths and birth injuries can be dramatically decreased while giving families some degree of comfort and closure.

These changes to how stillbirths and birth injuries are handled should also make is easier for families to claim compensation where appropriate by making it faster and easier to identify where medical mistakes were to blame for what happened. This should be of particular relevance to parents whose child has been left with a serious birth injury as compensation can make a significant difference to their child’s ability to live an independent, happy and fulfilling life.

If your family has suffered a significant injury due to medical negligence, contact our friendly team on 01253 766 559.

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'I could never imagine ever feeling happy again'

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'I could never imagine ever feeling happy again'

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Our client and brave mum Alison shared her story with Blackpool Gazette this week, read her story below:

“It was the darkest time of our life. I could never imagine ever feeling happy again.” Alison Baker and partner Chad Battersby, a tree surgeon with his own business, were thrilled when they discovered they were expecting a baby together and were full of excitement at the prospect of parenthood. Alison, 32, a family lawyer, recalls: “Macy was planned and we got pregnant very quickly and I remember being super excited about it all. “It was a pretty straightforward pregnancy and everything went smoothly.”

The couple, who live in Cleveleys, were told at a scan that Alison had a low lying placenta but that it was quite common and nothing to worry about. Alison had a couple of bleeds and medics decided to deliver her baby by emergency Caesarean Section at 33 weeks and two days.

Macy Wren Battersby was born on April 15 2015 at 4.44am and to her parents’ utter devastation and disbelief, she died just one hour and 46 minutes later at 6.30am. Her eyes filling with tears at the bleak memory, Alison says: “She was a perfectly well baby. There was no indication anything was wrong.

“It was totally heartbreaking for both of us.” Numb with grief, Alison describes how she struggled to cope and was gripped with anxiety and a whirlwind of emotions. Alison explains: “I had never been through anything so traumatic before. “I really tried my best to hold myself together in public but when I got home, I would sob and sob and sob.

“It was horrible. I did not realise I could cry like that. “I also felt anger. I hated my own body and was angry at it and blamed my body and felt I was a failure. “You feel like you have failed at something everybody else seems to do so easily. “You are constantly thinking: ‘What if?’ and want to turn back time and do things differently. “Even though there is nothing I could have done differently, I kept thinking if I had the benefit of hindsight there might have been or I would think: ‘What if she was delivered a day early?’

“For quite a while afterwards, I could never imagine ever feeling happy again or laughing or smiling again. “I remember thinking: ‘I wish someone would tell me when I will feel better.’

“I did not really want to see anyone apart from immediate family as I found it too nerve-wracking as I did not feel able to talk about it. “I developed anxiety and would feel panicked if I was going from one place to another. “It was difficult for both myself and Chad. We were both grieving. “We supported each other and that brought us closer. There is no one else in the world I shared that with.”

Alison admits that while she was going through that dark time, she found it difficult seeing women who were pregnant. Alison says: “I did not like to see anyone pregnant or with a newborn as I felt envious of them. “But as well as feeling envious of them, I felt frightened for them as I did not want the same thing to happen to them and I knew things could go wrong.”

Alison and Chad saw a counsellor for a while to help with their grief and Alison remembers her telling them: ‘You will either sleep too much or not at all.’ Alison says: “We both slept heavily. I wanted each day to go quickly and I did not want to be awake and thinking about it. “But the next morning, I would wake up and remember it all again.” Alison recalls feeling like she really wanted a baby and felt ready to be a mum. But she says: “I wanted Macy. I did not want another baby. “It took us a few months to get our heads around this.”

Alison says she eventually reached a point where she could contemplate trying for another baby. Alison explains: “I realised I could not change things and bring Macy back, but I could change not having children at all. “We had lots of tests to see if it was anything genetic that had caused Macy’s death. When it was confirmed it was not anything genetic, we decided we would like to try again.” Alison recalls how getting pregnant was then constantly on her mind and she became anxious as this time it seemed to take longer.

The couple discovered Alison was pregnant two weeks before Macy’s first birthday. Alison remembers: “It was very bittersweet. It felt very scary and I did not dare imagine we would end up having a baby. “People would tell me to try and enjoy the pregnancy. But I could not enjoy it as I did not want to lose another baby. “I felt very anxious and nervous and was panicking every day. “If you dared let yourself get excited, you would chastise yourself. It is like you are letting yourself in for another fall. “I was very careful during my first pregnancy and was the same again and did nothing to risk the baby.”

Laughing ruefully, Alison adds: “I should have been paying rent to the hospital as I was in there once or twice a week and all the midwives knew me. “They monitored me more regularly and I had a lot of scans. “They tried to put me at ease but I knew anything could happen and did not take anything for granted. “Every appointment, I was a bag of nerves.”

Pippa Autumn Battersby was born on November 15 2016 by planned Caesarean Section as Alison did not want to take any risks. Alison recalls: “Pippa was born weighing 5lbs 12oz and was healthy and well. “Her birth was very emotional. “When Pippa was born and I heard her crying, I remember shouting: ‘Give her to me!’ like a nutter. “As soon as they did, I felt better because I did not get to do that with Macy. “I was so happy but I remember saying to Chad: ‘Why could this not have happened the first time so Pippa could have a big sister and we would have both of them now?’ “Throughout my pregnancy with Pippa, I felt guilty for Macy as I knew we would potentially have a baby who would have everything in life Macy was supposed to have. “Some people think that when you have another baby, it will replace the baby you lost. “But that is not the case. You can never replace the baby you lost.

“I still think about Macy every day and we will never forget her.” Alison‘s advice to anyone going through the same thing is to voice their fears to health professionals and not to feel like there is a stigma. She says: “I never used to go to the doctors before this happened and I used to be conscious of wasting people’s time. “But if you have been through something like this, there is no one more deserving of the service so don’t be afraid to use it.”

Pippa will be celebrating her first birthday this week and Alison says she has brought so much joy into their lives. She says: “Pippa is brilliant and has given us our life back. “I thought I would never be happy again but she has brought happiness back into our life. “We love Pippa so much but we also love Macy and will never forget her.

“When you lose a baby, people are scared to speak to you about it as they don’t want to upset you. “But one of the nicest things people can do is remind you that they remember her. “One of the biggest fears is that people will forget her but we will never forget Macy. “My advice to anyone who has friends this has happened to is to not fear reminding them that you remember their baby.

“It is like a little gift when you remember.” 

If your family has suffered a significant injury due to medical negligence, contact our friendly team on 01253 766 559.

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Grandmother awarded compensation for suffering PTSD after watching daughter give birth

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Grandmother awarded compensation for suffering PTSD after watching daughter give birth

My client's six year fight for justice.

As reported by Henry Bodkin in The Sunday Telegraph, please see below:

NHS hospitals face paying millions in compensation to family members whose loved-ones undergo botched medical procedures after a grandmother successfully claimed for suffering PTSD following the birth of her granddaughter.

Experts say the High Court ruling “turns the tide” in favour of family members claiming compensation in cases of medical negligence.

Calderdale & Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust were ordered to make the pay-out after a chaotic delivery which left the new-born with permanent neurological damage.

The unnamed baby, which came out “flat and purple with a swollen head”, did not start breathing for 12 minutes – her mother and grandmother believed she was dead.

Until now, family members traumatised from witnessing negligent medical procedures or their aftermath have found it extremely difficult to successfully claim damages. 

While patients groups have welcomed the new ruling, it could mean health bosses, wary of large legal bills, start limiting the number of relatives present during hospital procedures.

Nigel Poole QC, head of King’s Chambers and a medical negligence specialist, said: “I would not underestimate the importance of this decision.

“There are potentially a lot of people who could bring a claim like this.”

The High Court found the midwives at Calderdale Birthing Unit did not properly anticipate the risk of delivering a 10lbs baby.

The girl suffered an acute profound hypoxic ischaemic insult as a result of an unnecessary 11-minute delay in delivery in April 2011.

Mr Justice Goss also found the midwives had deliberately prevented a specialist obstetrician from entering the room during a crucial stage in the emergency, and that the hospital subsequently destroyed medical records after the legal action had begun.

The mother had raised concerns about the size of her baby during antenatal appointments, but the “offhand” midwives had told her “big babies just slip out”.

In the event, the girl’s shoulder became jammed behind her mother’s pelvic bone.

Historically, courts have been very reluctant to award damages to family members who witness traumatic scenes in hospital on the basis that it would open the floodgates to thousands of claims, and  that relatives should expect a degree of unpleasantness when they go to hospital.

However, Mr Justice Goss found that watching a complicated birth which resulted the appearance of a stillborn baby was “sufficiently horrifying” for both mother and grandmother to claim for PTSD.

Suzanne White, a medical negligence expert at Leigh Day, said that hospital chief executives normally try their best to settle these types of case behind closed doors because they want to avoid setting a precedent.

“This ruling puts the cat among the pigeons,” she said. “The NHS don’t like this kind of case because there could be a huge number of them.”

Rolf Dalhaug, of the campaign group 17 Dads, had to fight for compensation for his PTSD when one of his twins, Thor, lost his life during a delivery using forceps at Lincoln County Hospital in 2013.

Last night he welcomed the new ruling recognising the effect medical negligence can have on close family.

“The NHS don’t recognise it at all, I think it’s something they choose to actively supress,” he said. “I think this ruling is massively important and will have a big effect going forward.”

Calderdale & Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust has said it will appeal against the decision.

Line from trust: "The trust recognise and regret that a number of lives have been adversely affected by the events of this case."

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Blackpool Health Trust's poor review poses death risks, says Coroners

Click to read the full article on The BBC Website. 

More patients could die at a hospital unless health bosses review the way serious incidents are investigated, a coroner has warned.

Blackpool coroner Alan Wilson raised his concerns over the internal review into a woman's death following routine surgery at Blackpool Victoria Hospital.

He said Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust's probe into care given to Pamela Briggs was "flawed".

The trust said it has "already begun" a review of its serious incident process.

Missed opportunity

Mrs Briggs' lawyer, Diane Rostron, said she began to suffer with chest pains a week after her operation. 

"An ECG showed irregularities and that was a clear sign she had had suffered a heart attack. Unfortunately she didn't receive any interventional treatment for that. 

"The heart attack was caused by a blocked stent and a simple procedure could have relieved that blockage and may well have ensured Pam survived."

Ms Rostron said the 69-year-old then suffered a second heart attack at St Catherine's Hospice in Preston and died on 13 February after a "crucial window of opportunity" to treat her was missed. 

Mrs Briggs' sister, Chris Walton, said her sibling would still be alive if "appropriate treatment been given" and criticised the trust's investigation for "papering over very serious cracks".

Mrs Walton said the trust took almost seven months to produce its report - contrary to the 60 days in NHS guidelines - and she was "appalled" to discover the probe had been conducted by the doctor and matron responsible for her sister's care - while a key witness was ignored.

"I was dumbfounded; I felt that we were being laughed at," she said.

The coroner has now issued a "regulation 28 report" - a document aimed at preventing future deaths - to the trust and to the chief coroner of England and Wales.

Coroner's concerns 

  • The review was "not robust or thorough enough"

  • Failure to speak to a key witness - the cardiology registrar - meaning the review was based on "inadequate information". The coroner said this meant recommendations were "ill-informed" and "flawed" and "risks placing future patients in jeopardy"

  • One of the authors of the report was the surgeon who operated on Mrs Briggs which risked the perception of a lack of transparency and faith in the recommendations and a risk of failing to amend inappropriate practices

A spokesperson for the trust said the coroner was "not critical of the care given" and found evidence given by staff "extremely helpful" but acknowledged he "expressed some concerns regarding the quality of its incident report".

The trust, which has until January to respond, said a review is under way and "any proposals for changes" will be given to the coroner.

Mrs Walton said: 'This can't all be for nothing. Pam's death has to at least make them look at their actions and change their ways so that future deaths are avoided."

Click to view the video on The BBC Website.

If your family has suffered a significant injury due to medical negligence, contact our friendly team on 01253 766 559.

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Risk of future deaths... Coroner's concerns

Pamela died at Blackpool Victoria Hospital earlier this year. Her sister, Christine, was concerned about the care she had received and following extensive enquiries chose me to represent her. The Coroner held an inquest into Pam's death on 4 November. He took the unusual step of issuing a Regulation 28 Report because he was so concerned about the risk of future deaths. I will continue to represent Christine in the months ahead.

Click to read the full article on The Gazette's Website.

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Charlie: Outcome of Coroner's Inquest

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Charlie: Outcome of Coroner's Inquest

Charlie's parents believe that he was let down by the care he received at birth, resulting in brain damage and again when he became unwell at four and a half years of age, resulting in him sadly dying.  Representing our Clients at Coroner's Inquests is part of what we do.   Press release statement issued on behalf of Charlie's parents following the inquest on 10 November 2016, by Diane Rostron.   Charlie was our beautiful little boy. He was born very early and unfortunately we believe that mistakes were made during his delivery causing him to be very badly bruised. In turn, we believe that this caused him to bleed into his brain, causing him brain damage. After many months in hospital he was able to come home with us. Despite his many problems, he was very much loved by us, his parents, and by his brothers and sisters. He was a very important part of all our lives, and his life, although different from able bodied children, was full of joy and purpose.  In March of this year, Charlie became very agitated and upset and we took him into Blackpool Victoria Hospital. He was diagnosed with pneumonia and, against our expectations, was discharged home the same day on an antibiotic. We only agreed to take him home because we were assured that the pneumonia had been caught early and that the antibiotic would soon ‘kick-in’. Unfortunately, his condition deteriorated and the next day we took him back to Blackpool Victoria Hospital. The inquest heard that he was admitted at lunchtime. He was requiring oxygen and was bleeding. Despite this, he was not seen by a doctor until mid-afternoon and no investigations or treatment was provided until early evening. Sadly by then it was too late. He was transferred on a life support system to Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in Liverpool where he died. We were told that he had died from sepsis.  The Coroner decided that he had died of natural causes. It is our sincere belief that his death could have been prevented if our concerns had been listened to and acted upon. We believe that he was let down both at the start and the end of his life. In between he had some very good care from a number of doctors and nurses, and as a family we pay tribute to them. However, we believe that Charlie should not have suffered the brain damage he did at birth and that he should not have died when he did and in the manner he did. We have been assisted by our Solicitor, Diane Rostron, and with her on-going help we will fight for the justice Charlie deserves.   Hospital 'not to blame' for child's death -  Click to read the full article on The Gazette's website.

Charlie's parents believe that he was let down by the care he received at birth, resulting in brain damage and again when he became unwell at four and a half years of age, resulting in him sadly dying.

Representing our Clients at Coroner's Inquests is part of what we do.

Press release statement issued on behalf of Charlie's parents following the inquest on 10 November 2016, by Diane Rostron.

Charlie was our beautiful little boy. He was born very early and unfortunately we believe that mistakes were made during his delivery causing him to be very badly bruised. In turn, we believe that this caused him to bleed into his brain, causing him brain damage. After many months in hospital he was able to come home with us. Despite his many problems, he was very much loved by us, his parents, and by his brothers and sisters. He was a very important part of all our lives, and his life, although different from able bodied children, was full of joy and purpose.

In March of this year, Charlie became very agitated and upset and we took him into Blackpool Victoria Hospital. He was diagnosed with pneumonia and, against our expectations, was discharged home the same day on an antibiotic. We only agreed to take him home because we were assured that the pneumonia had been caught early and that the antibiotic would soon ‘kick-in’. Unfortunately, his condition deteriorated and the next day we took him back to Blackpool Victoria Hospital. The inquest heard that he was admitted at lunchtime. He was requiring oxygen and was bleeding. Despite this, he was not seen by a doctor until mid-afternoon and no investigations or treatment was provided until early evening. Sadly by then it was too late. He was transferred on a life support system to Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in Liverpool where he died. We were told that he had died from sepsis.

The Coroner decided that he had died of natural causes. It is our sincere belief that his death could have been prevented if our concerns had been listened to and acted upon. We believe that he was let down both at the start and the end of his life. In between he had some very good care from a number of doctors and nurses, and as a family we pay tribute to them. However, we believe that Charlie should not have suffered the brain damage he did at birth and that he should not have died when he did and in the manner he did. We have been assisted by our Solicitor, Diane Rostron, and with her on-going help we will fight for the justice Charlie deserves. 

Hospital 'not to blame' for child's death - Click to read the full article on The Gazette's website.

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The end of a ten year battle for justice

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The end of a ten year battle for justice

"Tottenham youngster who was left severely brain damaged after collapsing wins £7m in damages for club doctors' decision to let him play with known heart problem" - click to read the full article on The Daily Mail Website.

 

Tottenham youngster who was left severely brain damaged after collapsing wins £7m in damages for club doctors' decision to let him play with known heart problem 

  • Radwan Hamed collapsed on his first professional appearance for Spurs
  • Hamed was left severely brain damaged following the incident in 2006
  • He played despite scans showing his heart was ‘unequivocally abnormal’
  • High Court judge ruled Spurs 'breached its duties' to Radwan, then 17
  • He has been awarded £7million in damages after a 10-year battle
  • Tottenham found 70 per cent liable with FA cardiologist 30 per cent liable
  • Spurs will not pay directly due to indemnity clause with former physicians
     

    A former Tottenham Hotspur player left severely brain damaged after the club breached its duties to him has won a damages claim of around £7m.

    Despite scans showing that his heart was ‘unequivocally abnormal’ Radwan Hamed was allowed to continue playing football.

    The player, then aged 17, collapsed during his first game as a professional for Spurs in Belgium in August 2006.

    A High Court judge had previously ruled Tottenham breached its duties to Radwan and this morning damages believed to be in the region of £7m were ordered to be paid after a 10-year court battle.

    Hamed, a gifted striker, was screened by Dr Peter Mills, the Football Association’s regional cardiologist for South East England when he signed a professional contract.

    However, despite abnormalities showing on the scan, the teenager was allowed to continue playing and subsequently suffered a cardiac arrest in his first game.

    Hamed’s father, Raymond, claimed his catastrophic injuries resulted from the negligence of Dr Mills and Dr Charlotte Cowie and Dr Mark Curtin, specialist sports physicians employed by Spurs.

    Dr Cowie has since gone on to become medical director for the FA in a controversial appointment first revealed by Sportsmail in April.

    At an earlier hearing Mr Justice Hickinbottom ruled the club was 70 per cent liable with Dr Mills 30 per cent liable.

    Spurs will not be hit with a fee directly as their 70 per cent portion was incurred by sports physicians they previously employed, who have agreed to indemnify the club.

    After granting a compensation order for an undisclosed figure understood to be around £7m, Mr Justice Lewis said: ‘Radwan Hamed was a promising young footballer. At the age of 17 he was playing his first professional match for Tottenham Hotspur. 

    'Sadly, Radwan suffered from a heart defect and tragically suffered heart attack on the pitch. His heart stopped for many minutes and his brain was starved of oxygen. Thankfully, Radwan survived but he suffered serious injuries. 

    ‘There is a system for scanning and screening heart defects in young footballers. Radwan was scanned and the results indicated he might have a heart defect. An earlier hearing found insufficient communication between doctors who carried out the scan and doctors at Tottenham Hotspur.

    ‘The compensation will need to compensate for injury and for loss of earnings. More importantly it will need to ensure his future needs are met. I would like to pay tribute to Radwan Hamed’s family. 

    'His father and mother and two sisters are a caring and loving family. Mr and Mrs Hamed have cared for Radwan since his tragic injury. They have shown great love and devotion.

    ‘The proposed settlement provides for payment of compensation and interest. I am satisfied the proposed settlement is a fair just and appropriate settlement.

    Spurs issued a statement following an earlier hearing. It read: ‘The club wholeheartedly regrets that a former employee, as adjudged, was remiss in their duties to Radwan. 

    'This judgement will hopefully now secure the best treatment and care for him.’ 

 

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Fantastic success for family after a ten year battle...

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Fantastic success for family after a ten year battle...

Press release statements issued on behalf of Radwan Hamed and his family in anticipation of the hearing in the High Court in London on the 4th October, by Diane Rostron.

Press Release 1

On 1 August 2006, our beautiful son, Radwan then aged 17, signed a professional contract with Tottenham Hotspur Football Club. He was an extremely gifted and talented player. Three days later, on 4 August 2006, he suffered a catastrophic cardiac arrest whilst playing football for the youth team in Belgium. On any view this was a tragedy.

He was deprived of oxygen for 16 minutes resulting in severe brain damage. His life was devastated - our hearts were broken.

After his collapse we discovered the Club were aware that Radwan might have an underlying silent, potentially fatal heart condition, known as hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. This condition recently took the life of Miles Frost, son of David Frost and a similar condition affected the Premiership footballer Fabrice Muamba. The Club did not tell us or Radwan about his potentially fatal condition. Had they done so, Radwan would not have continued to play football. Physical exertion, as in competitive football, is dangerous in those with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. Radwan’s cardiac arrest was wholly avoidable, so too the brain damage.

We have spent the last 10 years pursuing justice for our son. In February 2015, the High Court found Tottenham Hotspur Football Club and the Harley Street cardiologist negligent in the care provided to our son. They had spent 10 years denying any wrongdoing.

Since 2015 no fewer than eighteen experts have been required to assess and quantify what Radwan will need for the rest of his life.

Radwan has worked incredibly hard to recover from his devastating injuries. Despite all of his efforts, he continues to require help and support and will do so for the rest of his life.

Socially, emotionally, aspirationally, Radwan is like any other young fit man in his 20’s. Radwan suffers with impaired mobility, severe visual impairment and memory problems. These injuries prevent him from living a free, independent and full life – that is his tragedy, which can never be undone.

We are relieved to confirm that a settlement has now been agreed following negotiations with the Club and the cardiologist. The settlement will be used to care for and support Radwan for the rest of his life.

We remain heartbroken for all that our beautiful son has lost.

We are extremely grateful to our legal team and the experts who have helped us to pursue our crusade for justice for our son.

We hope that what has happened to Radwan will help to raise awareness of this silent but deadly condition. We fully support the campaign of the Miles Frost family in conjunction with the British Heart Foundation. We hope that sporting clubs and facilities at all levels will take the relatively simple and inexpensive steps to ensure that our tragedy is not repeated and inflicted upon another family.

10 years ago, our son, Radwan then aged just 17, suffered a cardiac arrest whilst playing football for Tottenham Hotspur.

Our athletic, enthusiastic, ambitious, beautiful son was no longer able to walk or talk. He was blind – he had no idea who we were. The doctors advised that recovery was highly unlikely, if not impossible.

Press Release 2

Our shock, devastation and despair has never left us and never will.

Tottenham’s doctor, Charlotte Cowie, knew that Radwan might have a potentially fatal cardiac condition. That vital information was never shared with us or Radwan.

Just as Radwan had no choice but to start his difficult journey towards recovery, we had no choice but to start the difficult journey to obtain justice. 

We risked losing our home and faced personal financial ruin in order to pursue justice for our son. 

In February 2015, after nine long difficult years, the High Court found the Club, it’s doctors and Dr Mills negligent. 

Whilst today's settlement ends our painful crusade for justice for our son, it does not end his fight for recovery. That will never end.

He cannot live the life of a fit, young, independent man – that is his personal tragedy that can never be undone.

The compensation awarded will provide for the care and support he needs for the rest of his life.

We were, and are, disappointed that Tottenham let our son down so badly and denied any wrongdoing for so very long.

We are grateful beyond words for the recovery our son has made and continues to make.

We wish to thank our beautiful daughters and family for their love and support over the last decade.

We are grateful to the British justice system and our experts and legal team.

Finally, we hope that steps will be taken to ensure that our tragedy is not repeated and inflicted upon another family.

Click to read Radwan's story on The BBC Website and The Evening Standard Website.

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Hospitals apologise five years after boy's death

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Hospitals apologise five years after boy's death

More than five years after a six-year-old boy died in hospital, his family have received an apology and damages from the hospitals that cared for him.

Daniel Hunt died at Royal Manchester Children's Hospital on 1 January 2011, after having been transferred from Blackpool Victoria Hospital.

A 2012 coroner's report called Daniel's treatment "unsafe, untimely, ineffective and inefficient".

The hospitals have apologised and paid a "five-figure sum" to his parents.

The letter sent to the Hunt family, of Thornton-Cleveleys in Lancashire, by the chief executives of both hospitals said it is "a matter of deep regret" that Daniel's death was not prevented.

The risk that Daniel "might experience a life threatening and sudden deterioration was not appreciated to the extent that it ought to have been," it said.

A joint statement from both hospitals said investigations "concluded that additional steps could have been taken during the course of his admission to both hospitals to further stabilise and improve his condition".

Daniel suffered from Lowe Syndrome which can affect kidney function and body fluid levels.

Diane Rostron, the specialist medical solicitor who represented the family, said Blackpool Victoria children's unit were aware of Daniel's condition and complications that can arise. 

He was admitted after being sick at home but staff did not recognise his deteriorating condition, she said.

And there were delays in transferring him to Manchester, where there was a failure to escalate his treatment.

Ms Rostron said the Hunts did not want to sue the hospitals but were forced to because they would not accept any responsibility for their son's death.

After initially denying substandard care, the hospitals admitted liability in October before the first court hearing was due to take place.

Graham Hunt said: "I didn't think for one moment I'd be taking my son in and not bringing him out for something that would have been treatable with the proper people to look after him - and they didn't," he said.

Ms Rostron said: "The simple fact is, this was an avoidable death."

"It has heaped insult on top of injury... they should have admitted this as soon as the coroner's inquest was concluded. 

"As every day has gone by the parents have been caused increasing amounts of pain."

Click here to read more. 

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