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“Thanks to the settlement achieved we’re
a family again!”
Mark, father of Stephen
“Our son Stephen was severely brain damaged by oxygen deprivation at birth.
Eventually he was diagnosed as having cerebral palsy.
But for a period after his birth, though we knew something was badly wrong, my wife, Pauline, and I were kept largely in the dark.
We didn’t know what had happened, how it had happened or why it had happened.
It turned out that because of my wife’s uterine fibroids, which were on her medical records, she should have been kept in hospital at 38 weeks.
But she wasn’t.
At birth the fibroids blocked Stephen’s exit causing him to be an unstable lie and he was starved of oxygen for more than 45 minutes.
After the birth Stephen was 5 weeks in the Special Care Baby Unit and at one point we weren’t sure he was going to survive.
In addition, we weren’t given any proper prognosis regarding Stephen’s future.
When we eventually got Stephen home we found things incredibly difficult.
We have four other children. It was hard to cope and we simply hadn’t got the facilities to look after Stephen properly.
We began to wonder if we had a case for a claim for medical negligence and I was put in touch, through my union, with Thompsons Solicitors.
I’d heard of Thompsons before and they were great from the outset.
They sent us to London to see a specialist obstetrician who was terrific.
It was this expert who advised us that Pauline should have been kept in at 38 weeks to be monitored until birth.
And he stressed that the midwives, doctors and ultrasound people should have been aware of Pauline’s fibroid and the potential risks.
Up till then we had the view that medicine can be a bit of a closed shop – doctors don’t go against other doctors.
But this experience changed our views on that.
The specialist also sent a detailed report to Thompsons and on the strength of that they came back to us and said we had a case for making a claim.
Meanwhile, our home situation was getting more and more difficult so we tried moving - but it was the same all over again.
There were only 3 bedrooms and they were all upstairs.
There was no hoist and Pauline and I had to carry Stephen up and down the stairs and Stephen had to sleep in our bedroom.
There was no hoist in the bathroom, either. We had to lift him in and out of the bath.
And there were no toilet facilities downstairs.
It was all an enormous problem and we seemed to be on top of each other all the time.
By contrast, as Thompsons prepared our case, they were fantastic – they were absolutely brilliant at keeping in touch on a regular basis and keeping us totally up to date.
It was all a bit like being on a roller coaster.
But Thompsons would always explain anything we didn’t understand.
And they brought in care experts, educational experts and physiotherapy experts to help assess Stephen’s ongoing needs.
It all took a long time.
I wanted the hospital to admit liability which I don’t feel they did, despite us winning our case.
But that aside, thanks to the settlement achieved we’re a family again!
When we’d won the case Thompsons brought in an architect who was also a great help – he understood what type of house we needed before we did.
We’ve been able to buy and adapt a bungalow with enough space for all of us and proper facilities for Stephen.
Stephen’s progress has been brilliant and the improvement in our home life has been humongous!
Care for Stephen is, of course, now all on one level and he comes into the garden with us, eats with us, and moves around with us in a wheelchair
And he’s doing well at the special school he attends.
All told, everything is a million light years ahead of how it was before the settlement.
We’re even still in touch with the Thompsons’ lawyer who looked after us – we consider her a family friend.”
Mark, father of Stephen
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"Thanks to the settlement achieved we're a family again!" -Mark, father of Stephen"