Morrish Solicitors secures £4.2m settlement for a boy who was permanently disabled as a result of negligent treatment during his birth at Bradford Royal Infirmary
Morrish Solicitors is an independent law firm based in West Yorkshire with a strong national presence. They offer a variety of legal services to private clients, trade union and association members. Their legal services include Personal Injury, Medical Negligence, Employment Law, Residential Conveyancing and Property, Divorce and Family Law, Wills, Probate & Estates and Dispute Resolution.
This is a press release from Morrish Solicitors.
Morrish Solicitors secures £4.2m settlement for a boy who was permanently disabled as a result of negligent treatment during his birth at Bradford Royal Infirmary, Morrish Solicitors has successfully secured compensation for a boy, 8, who was starved of oxygen for 17 minutes after hospital staff at Bradford Royal Infirmary failed to monitor his heartrate during birth.
Sebastian Lowes, 8, of Bradford, was born in a very poor condition and needed to be resuscitated immediately following delivery. He was later diagnosed with grade 3 hypoxic ischemia encephalopathy (brain damage caused by a lack of oxygen). Sebastian suffers from four limb dyskinetic cerebral palsy at the most severe functional level.
Sebastian’s parents, Dave and Sam, said “We are so thankful to the team at Morrish Solicitors. Achieving this settlement would not have been possible without them. Our solicitors Anna and Duncan were great listeners and became like friends to us, they were really there when we needed a listening ear or a shoulder to cry on.” They continued “The settlement means everything to us. We finally feel hopeful for the future, knowing we can give Sebastian the best possible quality of life. We know we don’t have him for a long time, and we really want to make the most of the time we have. This money will allow us to do that. As Sebastian gets older, he is getting heavier, and now we will finally be able to provide him with the proper equipment and care he needs, no questions asked.”
As a result of his injuries, Sebastian also suffers from epilepsy, severe cerebral visual impairment, requires tube feeding, a small and poorly functioning kidney, profound learning disabilities and a reduced life expectancy. Because of this, Sebastian is fully dependent on others to support him in all aspects of his life, which prior to the settlement proved to be extremely difficult for the family.
Sebastian’s mum, Sam, commented “After Sebastian’s diagnosis, there was no doubt in my mind that I should give up my job to care for our boy. I became his full-time carer because that was the right thing for me, and for us as a family. Unfortunately, our change in circumstances meant we lost some friends and family along the way, but we are so grateful to the friends and family that have supported us since Sebastian was born. It means the world.”
The NHS Trust undertook an internal investigation and prepared a detailed report which identified numerous failings surrounding Sebastian’s birth which were entirely avoidable. The Trust subsequently admitted liability and provided the family with a letter of apology. Morrish Solicitors obtained interim payments to help facilitate Sebastian’s immediate therapy and care needs until the claim could be valued and a settlement obtained.
The family faced further struggles when Dave’s ex-employer was unsupportive of his new situation. Dave said “Sebastian spent most of his first five years in hospital. Money was the last thing on my mind. My main concern was my son and being a supportive father, so I would often need to take unpaid leave from work in order to take Sebastian to hospital appointments and be with him during long hospital stays. When I returned to work, I faced constant disciplinaries and was eventually issued a final written warning. That was when I finally took the decision to leave my job.”
He continued “It was a difficult decision to make, but even after 10 years of service, I felt that I had no other choice. It was the best decision for us, but one that made it harder to pay the bills. We were under a lot of financial stress. It was a dark time for us. Sam and I split for three years because I struggled to come to terms with what had happened to Sebastian. Knowing it was negligence made it harder to accept.”
Dave and Sam continued “Nobody deserves what happened to us. But even with all that Sebastian has had to through and continues to go through, he is the most perfect and happy boy and he makes us so happy and so proud each and every day.”
In 2019, Dave decided to seek therapy to help him come to terms with Sebastian’s injuries, he said “I wasn’t nice to be around at that time. My anxiety and depression were very high, but I slowly overcame them by taking up new hobbies, like bare-knuckle fighting. Sebastian will never be able to tell us when he is in pain, but he is fighting every day, and I feel like I am giving back to Sebastian’s fight every time I compete. We now take each day appreciating the small things, as they mean so much to us. Even though we have had lots of parenting experiences taken away, we have learnt to adapt. We don’t treat Sebastian any differently, he loves when I play rough with him, and we go out whenever we can, though Coronavirus has made that hard.”
Sebastian’s settlement was finally agreed upon after a 7-year case. Under the terms of the settlement, Sebastian will get a lump sum of £1,450,000 plus annual periodical payments of £203,698 for life to allow for the provision of adequate care and therapies. When asked about the process, Sam said “The hardest part was reliving everything that happened over and over again. The paperwork alone felt like a full-time job. But we wouldn’t change anything about the process, because it got us to where we are today. We are so thankful to Morrish Solicitors.”
Anna Sari, Partner and Head of Medical Negligence at Morrish Solicitors said “Dave and Sam are an inspiration. Their dedication to Sebastian since he was born is immense and demands so much strength and determination. They should be incredibly proud of how far they have come on this journey as a family. No amount of money can reverse the severe and lifelong catastrophic injuries Sebastian has suffered nor the impact on the whole family but the settlement will allow Sam and Dave to give Sebastian the best possible life.”