A Blackburn law firm says it has secured a £15.4 million settlement for a family after a young man suffered brain injuries at birth due to a lack of oxygen.   

AWH Solicitors, which also has offices in Manchester, won the landmark case after a decade-long legal battle against North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Trust.   

The trust said it 'will always apologise if mistakes have been made and look to make continuous improvements to services'.

The client, whose identity has been protected, was starved of oxygen for a short period of time as a newborn, causing 'hypoxic ischemic injury at birth due to lack of overnight monitoring by hospital staff'.   

As a result, he developed conditions such as right hemiplegic cerebral palsy, visual and cognitive impairment, epilepsy, and autism.

His mother, who gave birth to him in July 2003, was admitted to a hospital with a temperature of 37.4°C and was given antibiotics and oral fluids.

At her admission there was no monitoring of foetal heart rate until the following evening.

The law firm presented evidence which 'proved the young man received life-altering injuries following lack of overnight monitoring prior to his birth'.    

AWH Solicitors, which represented the Middlesbrough family, argued if correct procedures were in place, doctors would have picked up abnormalities in foetal well-being allowing sufficient time to intervene and prevent harm.    

North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Trust admitted the failure to check this was 'a breach of care and resulted in a deficiency of oxygen supply'.

As a result, the young man, who is now 20 years old, has a poor grip to his right hand and his intellect, memory, and executive functions are significantly impaired.    

Senior associate, Nimish Patel, worked on the case for a number of years.

He said: “We are pleased to announce this landmark victory for the family affected by this tragic incident.

"It is a testament to our unwavering commitment to justice and holding institutions accountable for their actions.   

“The legal battle not only centred around proving negligence but also delved into the considerable care required for our client’s future including focussed therapy on a one-to-one basis which the firm were able to facilitate.    

"This case highlights the importance of ensuring that every individual receives the standard of care they deserve, especially during critical moments such as childbirth.    

“Our client and his family have endured a very lengthy legal battle, and we are proud to have stood by them throughout. 

“It’s also a huge moment for our firm. I’m very proud to have worked on this case and want to thank the firm for its continued support and commitment to justice.”   

A spokesperson for North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust said: “While we cannot comment on individual cases, we can confirm we always seek to work constructively with families during a claim process in order to reach a fair settlement, will always apologise if mistakes have been made and look to make continuous improvements to our services.”

Over the past few years, special care and therapies have been arranged by AWH Solicitors for the client.

The family also purchased their current house with an intention to help their son develop a live-in relationship with a support worker, but he will still need support until the age of 30.    

Mr Patel added: “Our client’s journey continues with regular attendance at therapeutic sessions, ongoing care, and the aspiration to achieve greater independence through adaptive housing.    

“The commitment to securing a comfortable and supported life for him remains paramount.

“While we acknowledge that no settlement can undo the past or erase the challenges the family has faced, we hope it can provide some comfort and support.    

“It is our sincere hope that it allows the family to focus on the future and the care our client needs. 

"Having spoken to the mother, I know the trust’s apology to the family was very important after she had blamed herself for all these years.   

“It also lays the foundation for a more secure and dignified future for him, addressing the challenges posed by his symptoms with compassion and foresight.”