THE parents of a little girl left disabled as a result of medical mistakes at her birth have won a long legal battle.
The High Court ruling means Amelia Rayner’s parents – who had tried for years for a child – will now be offered cash by the Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Trust to fund care for the rest of her life.
Amelia, of Hipperholme, who is now seven, suffers from a debilitating form of the motor disorder, known as spastic quadraparesis which affects all four of her limbs.
The damage to her brain has left her with major visual impairments, little effective voluntary movement, episodes of epilepsy and a severe learning and communication disability.
Lorraine McIntyre and her partner Andy Rayner instructed clinical negligence experts at Irwin Mitchell to pursue a civil claim in 2003 after their daughter Amelia was starved of oxygen and left with severe cerebral palsy at Calderdale Royal Hospital.
A liability settlement was approved at the Leeds High Court by Judge Grenfell, in which the Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust accepted they were 75% responsible for causing Amelia’s brain damage.
Amelia will remain dependant on carers for the rest of her life and will never be able to work or live independently. She remains under the care of the child development unit at Calderdale Hospital.
Amelia’s solicitor, Rachelle Mahapatra, expert clinical negligence lawyer and partner at Irwin Mitchell, says that following the acceptance of liability by the hospital’s NHS Trust funds can be secured for Amelia’s long-term care.
"We are now in a position to negotiate a financial settlement which will provide vital support for all of Amelia’s future care requirements.
"Her family will be able to find care and equipment that Amelia needs to help her lead as full and as comfortable life as possible."
"Although her family already works extremely hard to provide her with the best quality of life they possibly can they need the funds to ensure they can continue to do this as Amelia gets older."
Lorraine and Andy had been trying to conceive for eight years and were delighted to hear that Lorraine had finally fallen pregnant with Amelia, who was born on June 27, 2002.
Lorraine enjoyed a trouble-free pregnancy and at 38 weeks was induced using the drugs prostaglandin and syntocinon in the hospital’s delivery suite.
Monitoring of Amelia’s heart rate through labour showed several instances that it had slowed significantly during birth, a sign of foetal distress and she eventually had to be delivered by caesarean section.
Amelia was not breathing at birth and suffered from convulsions; she had to be resuscitated as she had been starved of oxygen.
Lorraine said: "Although both Andy and I try to remain as positive as possible about Amelia’s situation we are both tremendously relieved that this battle has come to an end.
"We are pleased that the Trust has finally admitted some liability, even if it is somewhat of a shallow victory as ultimately the mistakes which led to her disability should not have occurred.
"We can only hope that lessons have been learned to prevent other families being impacted by such life-changing errors again.
"This compensation will give us the security of knowing that Amelia’s every need can be met in the future".
Amelia faces extremely limited mobility. She can only lift and move her head in prone position and has real difficulty consuming food. Every day her parents spend over an hour feeding her. orally, rather than her have a gastrostomy, so she can enjoy the pleasure of food.
A spokesperson for Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust said: "The Trust is pleased that liability has been agreed and approved by the Court.
"Solicitors for the respective parties will now be working closely together to quantify Amelia’s claim to allow a final settlement to be achieved.
"We would like to offer our sincere apologies to the family for the events that led to Amelia’s disability and our assurance that lessons have been learned from these."