£6million payout for boy starved of oxygen at birth which caused cerebral palsy
Joseph O’Reggio, 11, has been left unable or speak or feed himselfMaternity staff failed to act swiftly enough when his heart rate dropped
Delay caused him to be starved of oxygen which led to brain damage
Ten year battle for parents Julian and Rachel to get the hospital to accept liability
21:22 GMT, 15 October 2012
The family of a boy who developed severe cerebral palsy after a hospital blunder led to him being starved of oxygen at birth have received a £6million payout.
Joseph O’Reggio, 11, has been left unable or speak or feed himself after staff at Wolverhampton's New Cross Hospital failed to act swiftly enough when his heart rate dropped.
His mother Rachel O'Reggio, now 40, had gone into labour after a healthy pregnancy on the morning of April 13, 2001.
Injury: Joesph O'Reggio has been left unable to speak or feed himself after maternity staff failed to act swiftly enough when his heart rate dropped at birth which led to brain damage
But the following day, from late morning, her unborn baby's heart rate dropped.
Although he was being monitored, it wasn’t until around 10pm that evening – when there was a shift change – that specialist help was called for.
Joseph was delivered by forceps shortly after 10.45pm, but his heart rate was weak and he suffered brain damage.
Now more than a decade on, the Royal Courts of Justice, London, have awarded a £6million care package to Joseph’s parents.
The couple, from Wolverhampton, West
Mids, won their fight to get Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust to accept
that they were liable for the majority of Joseph's injuries and that he
should have been delivered earlier.
requires round-the-clock care and his parents hope the money will allow
them to move to a specially adapted home with their three other
Payout: Jospeh's parents Rachel and Julian O'Reggio, pictured outside the High Court in London where they were awarded a £6million care package
He will also
have access to the specialist rehabilitation equipment he needs
including the installation of a multi-sensory room that uses light,
sounds, smells and shapes to develop his skills with hearing, sight,
taste, touch, language and hand-eye co-ordination.
Speaking outside the Royal Courts of
Justice today Joseph's Julian O'Reggio, 39, said he and his wife were over the
moon with the figure they have been given.
He said: 'We’ve managed to secure the funding Jo needs now to last him for the rest of his life.
'This money will be used for extra
physio appointments, speech therapy, occupational therapy to really try
and bring him out so he can live his life to the full.
a part-time credit manager, who also has two daughters and a younger
son, said: 'I cannot describe how it feels knowing we finally have
justice for Joe.
a mixture of huge relief and happiness that he will now always have
access to the treatment he deserves and be cared for the rest of his
Battle: Parents Rachel and Julian O'Reggio, pictured with Joseph and their other children Molly, 9, Phoebe, 5, and Oliver, 2, fought for over a decade to force the hospital to accept liability
'His brother and sisters are great with Joe and love to play with him, but at his age he should be playing and running around with them.
'It is heartbreaking that he has not been able to meet the normal milestones in his life.
'This settlement means we will always have support and he will always be cared for, as well as funding all the specialist equipment he needs.
'However, although it draws a line under everything, nothing can turn back the clock and Julian and I will always remember that if the correct decision had been made earlier, Joe would be the healthy boy we dreamed of.'
Blunder: The court heard how staff at New Cross Hospital in Wolverhampton failed to act swiftly enough when Joseph's heart rate dropped
Sara Burns, a Partner and medical negligence expert at Irwin Mitchell who represents the family, said: 'Rachel and Julian have waited patiently and with huge dignity for today’s settlement, which will make such a big difference to Joe’s life.
'The adaptations to a new house and one-to-one support will make life easier for the whole family who have given up so much to care for Joe and juggled hospital appointments and rehabilitation support with trying to provide a normal family home life.
'This was a complicated case but the fact is the mistakes made during Joe’s care should simply not have happened.
'Patient safety must be the top priority across the NHS, but sadly, we continue to be contacted by families whose children have been left brain damaged as a result of negligent hospital staff, looking for access to the rehabilitation and support they desperately need to live their lives as independently as possible.
'Trusts must ensure thorough training of staff and that guidelines are in place for when to call for senior support, not just for midwives, but all areas of the NHS.
'This will reduce basic, preventable errors from happening that have devastating consequences for patients and their families.'
Joseph was Rachel’s first pregnancy and she said the money was a huge relief and it was devastating at the time.
She added: 'We were very angry, we were very raw, for a fair few years, we have gone on to have three other healthy children. That made it a little bit easier emotionally.
'It’s a huge relief today that we can get Jo care for the rest of his life and pay the carers to help him in every day living.
'Jo needs 24-hour care, he has no functional use of his arms, his hands, or anything. He has to washed, bathed, gel in his hair, he has to fed, he can’t give himself a drink.
'The apology means a lot, more than anything it means a lot because it’s that acknowledgement of what they did. We fought for this for more than 10 and half years, and it means more than anything.'