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Woman Injured During Traumatic Birth Achieves Justice

Traumatic births can leave babies with life-changing physical injuries, but specialist lawyers are thankfully there to ensure that they receive fair compensation. In a case on point, a woman whose difficult delivery left her with little use of her left arm received seven-figure damages from the NHS.

During her delivery, the woman, now 23, suffered a condition known as shoulder dystocia – in effect, her shoulder became stuck in the birth canal. She sustained permanent damage to the bundle of nerves controlling her left arm. Despite two bouts of surgery since, the limb remained weak and underdeveloped.

After she took action, the NHS trust that ran the hospital where she was born accepted that her injury arose from a want of care. The quantification of her claim was, however, complicated by the fact that she suffers from global learning difficulties which are unconnected to the admitted negligence.

Her earning capacity is in any event greatly reduced by her learning difficulties but, at the same time, those very difficulties impede her acquisition and adoption of strategies for coping with her disabled arm. She also suffers from type 2 diabetes and there was no agreement about her life expectancy.

Even in the face of these complicating issues, a £1.5 million lump-sum settlement of her claim was negotiated. Approving that figure, the High Court praised the selfless care given to her by her family. The trust's barrister publicly apologised on its behalf for the breach of duty that caused her injury.