Boy disabled at birth after doctors failed to spot plummeting blood sugar levels set for 1m payout
16:45 GMT, 9 August 2012
A boy left brain damaged as a baby after doctors failed to spot his blood sugar levels had plummeted is set to be awarded more than 1million in compensation.
Lucas Hillier began suffering from hypoglycaemia two days after his mother Kerry gave birth to him at Good Hope Hospital in the West Midlands.
But he was not diagnosed with the dangerous condition until the next day – and as a result he developed cerebral palsy.
Kerry Hillier and her son Lucas, who has cerebral palsy after suffering hypoglacaemia shortly after birth
Five years on, the brain damage has left Lucas with limited movement in his upper and lower body, severe epilepsy and very poor eyesight.
Hospital bosses have since admitted liability and are now set to make a seven-figure payout to his family to pay for his future care.
Kerry, aged 34 and from Sutton Coldfield, said: 'NHS Trusts must spend more time training maternity staff about the dangers of hypoglycaemia and how to spot the symptoms and react quickly.
'It’s hard to come to terms with the fact that, if that had happened after Lucas was born, he would be fit and healthy today.'
Kerry and husband Ben, 35, a police scenes of crime officer, first realised something was wrong on June 23 in 2007 when two-day-old Lucas became very sleepy and drowsy.
They flagged up their concerns throughout the day. But nothing was done until the next morning when a paediatrician saw Lucas and rushed him to the special care unit.
'They told us then that his blood sugar was low and over the next three weeks he spent time in intensive care,” said mum-of-three Kerry.
'Eventually Lucas was discharged and we thought nothing was wrong. He had an MRI scan but we didn’t hear from the hospital for months after that.'
Lucas Hillier at Good Hope Hospital as a newborn. Hospital bosses have admitted liability and are set to make a seven-figure payout to fund his future care
In November 2007 the couple met doctors to discuss the MRI results – and were given devastating news.
Kerry added: 'We were told he had brain damage which was due to hyperglycaemia. We were shocked and devastated. It was like a bolt out of the blue.'
The couple instructed Birmingham-based lawyers Irwin Mitchell to look into their case.
News of the imminent payout comes weeks after Lucas celebrated his fifth birthday.
Kerry, who gave up her PR job to care for Lucas, said: 'He’s a lovely little boy but there were so many times we weren’t sure what his future might hold.
'He continues to amaze us with his progress and dotes on his two little brothers. We’ve had an interim payment which has helped towards carers and a specially-adapted house.
'It’s reassuring that Lucas does have access to these specialist facilities and we hope the settlement eventually agreed will allow him to have this for life.'
A spokesman for Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust, which runs Good Hope Hospital, said: 'We would again like to offer our sincere apologies to Lucas Hillier and his family.
'Lucas suffered poor feeding and lethargy because he was suffering from hypoglycaemia. He was not treated for this immediately and as a result experienced a worse outcome than may otherwise have occurred.'
Kerry also firmly believes prevention, in the form of breast feeding support, is critical. She added: 'Lucas was my first child and I had no idea how important establishing feeding was. I totally relied upon the advice of the midwives and, despite his lethargy, I was reassured he was fine and to keep trying.
'I strongly believe that if women are being told ‘breast is best’ that a consistent and supportive approach needs to be delivered.
'If this were the case, women would more likely persist with breast feeding and, more importantly, children like Lucas wouldn’t be left to suffer the horrendous consequences.'