OP v Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust [2021] EWHC 165 (QB) (01 February 2021)

The purpose of today’s hearing is for me to consider whether the proposed settlement of the damages claim in this case is in the best interests of C …. The brief circumstances are these. He was his parents’ first child; his mother’s pregnancy was uneventful but he was born by way of emergency caesarean section on the morning of what I will call ‘Day 1’ in 2005 upon the detection of signs of fetal distress. His mother remained in hospital, having just had a caesarean section. She wished to breastfeed. Contemporaneous midwifery notes record the baby being put to the breast with no apparent problems. However, over the course of the night of ‘Day 2’ to ‘Day 3’ it is now clear that C was becoming hypoglycaemic as a result of insufficient nutrition. He was found on the morning of ‘Day 3’ cold and dangerously ill. Steps to feed him were implemented but were tragically too late to avoid severe brain injury as a result of hypoglycaemia. C’s mother had almost no command of English. Allegations in negligence were raised against the Trust for failing to ensure that she understood the requirements of a breastfed newborn, and that she understood signs of concern that needed to be brought to the attention of midwifery staff. [1]

D denied liability. However, shortly before the liability trial fixed for October 2018 the parties were able to reach a compromise agreement whereby, without admission of liability, the defendant would pay to the claimant damages representing 80% of the value of the claim… [2]

… approval to the settlement and an order in the form proposed can be made [3]