Posted by Kerstin Scheel, Partner
Case update – admission of liability secured in GBS brain injury case
Kerstin Kubiak, partner in Royds Withy King’s specialist medical negligence department, secured an admission of liability for a 19-year-old’s brain injury, suffered following a delay in diagnosis of his Group B Strep infection.
James* contracted Group B strep infection when he was born which, as it was left untreated, caused him to develop meningitis and, ultimately, severe brain damage. As a result of the substandard medical treatment James received, he suffers from cerebral palsy, developmental delay, severe visual impairment and learning difficulties. He will therefore require care and support throughout his life.
How did James’ brain injury occur?
Unbeknownst to her, James’ mother was colonised with GBS late in her pregnancy, meaning he subsequently contracted the infection during the course of the labour and birth.
There were two significant risk factors at the time for James developing GBS infection, namely:
- the claimant was born prematurely, and;
- the claimant’s mother had a very high temperature (pyrexia) during her labour, which indicated that she was suffering from an infection.
Based on these 2 risk factors both James and his mother should have received antibiotic treatment during the course of the labour and in the neonatal period. This would have ensured that the risk of developing infection could be minimised.
Furthermore, when James was delivered he showed common symptoms of infection (he was pale and grunting), which in itself may have been reason to give intravenous antibiotics.
Proving, and obtaining an admission of liability
After being approached by James’ parents, their solicitor, Kerstin Kubiak, obtained expert evidence to comment on the care that was provided to James and his mother. Based on the supporting expert evidence, a Letter of Claim was served to the defendant trust setting out the allegations made against them.
The defendant trust’s Letter of Response admitted liability for having caused James’ injuries, by failing to provide him with neonatal antibiotics. They acknowledged that with appropriate antibiotic therapy the meningitis would not have developed, and the resulting brain injury would have been avoided.
Calculating costs and compensation
The admission of liability meant that the defendant trust conceded that they were at fault for what happened. James is therefore entitled to compensation for the injuries arising as a result of the trust’s failings.
A number of experts have been instructed to evaluate the monetary value of his claim, taking into account his specific circumstances and needs, and the wishes of his parents. James will receive compensation for a wide range of things he requires due to the trust’s negligence, such as care, accommodation needs, case management, loss of earnings, aids and equipment, therapy costs, additional holiday costs, travel costs, assistive technology and deputyship/Court of Protection costs.
It is expected that James will lack capacity for the remainder of his life, therefore his compensation will be managed under the Court of Protection with the assistance of a professional Deputy.
It is anticipated that James’ claim will settle in 2018 for a multi-million pound sum, ensuring he has the care and support he needs to thrive, and providing his parents with peace of mind for James’ future.
* The claimant’s name has been changed for confidentiality reasons.
If you or your baby have suffered a birth injury as a result of negligence, contact our specialist team on
0800 923 2080 Email us