13 July 2013

Breakthrough in Stem Cell Research

Recent research has resulted in a bakthrough, with a team in Germany successfully treating a child with cerebral palsy. The young boy, referred to as L.B, had been in a continuous vegetative state since suffering a cardiac arrest in November 2008.

Paralysed with severe brain damage and in a vegetative state, L.B. and his parents believed that his chances of survival were minimal. Up to then, doctors believed his infantile cerebral palsy was untreatable, with hopes founded on finding a way to manage his condition.

However, his parents began an extensive search to find possible treatments which may improve his chances of survival; this led to them contacting Dr Arne Jenson regarding his advancements in stem cell treatments.
Using their son’s umbilical cord blood, frozen at his birth, doctors administered the altered stem cell version of his blood, directly back into his veins and studied the changes in his brain cells. Belief being that the stem cells would migrate and repair the damaged bran tissue.

In the months following his treatment, L.B’s symptoms improved drastically; his muscle spasticity decreased significantly, with further improvements in his speech and movements. Further along his treatment, it is reported that L.B. is able to eat without assistance, speak in small sentences and with help walk.

This new research will give hope to those suffering from Cerebral Palsy and their families. However, pioneering treatments such as these can often come with associated costs, especially as overseas travel may be involved. Making a claim for cerebral palsy compensation can help alleviate any financial pressure, allowing families to invest in a chance at recovery.

If a child suffering from cerebral palsy, experienced avoidable medical negligence during their birth, then the hospital involved may be liable to cover the cost of their continuing care. For more information visit http://www.asons.co.uk or call 01204 521 133.

Research by: Dr Arne Jensen and his colleague Professor Eckard Hamelmann of the Department of Paediatrics at the Catholic Hospital Bochum, their success is reported in the journal ’Case Reports in Transplantation’.

ASONS Solicitors

At Asons Solicitors we deal with a wide variety of Medical Negligence cases ranging from pressure sores, through to cerebral palsy and ectopic pregnancies. If you've been affected by poor medical treatment, contact us today.


07 June 2013

Do You Have a Valid Birth Injury Claim? Medical-Negligence.com

Negligence-related birth injury cases are quite rare in the UK, affecting less than 0.01% of the 700,000 women who give birth in NHS hospitals. Unfortunately these cases are often so severe that the resultant injuries to the child cause permanent disablement, for which over half will require further surgery to improve quality of life long-term and 24-hour care. Birth injury compensation can often help in such instances, offering peace of mind for parents that they can at least cover both medical and care costs during their child's early years.

At Medical-Negligence.com, we offer a free claim assessment service to anyone who feels their child may have been affected at birth by the negligence of a medical professional, without cost or obligation. Our highly experienced birth injury specialists can also help you to understand the litigation process with tailored advice based on the unique circumstances of your case. Visit us at Medical-Negligence.com for advice concerning your legal entitlement to claim, or to arrange a no obligation case assessment.

Record Payouts For Birth Injury Claims

The birth of a child is a wondrous moment, and thanks to the consistent standards of care provided by midwives and doctors, is usually without serious complication. But, recent statistics for 2012 published by the National Health Service Litigation Authority (NHSLA) suggests that hospital negligence is becoming a more widespread problem, with 100 birth injury claims filed last year alone for medical negligence and error. According to press reports, funds to the sum of an additional £185 million were also granted to the NHSLA in February 2012 to help cover the costs of high-value claims for Cerebral Palsy and birth brain injury; the average settlement being around £6 million due to lifetime care and medical costs.

Reasons cited for the increase in high-value claims vary considerably. Health professionals are of the belief that a growing awareness of legal rights and no win no fee claims has prompted a greater number of patients to pursue legal action than ever before, whereas medico-legal experts attribute the problem to staff shortages. The latter would appear to hold some truth given recent estimations by the Royal College of Midwives. Based on findings for 2009-2010 and 2011-2012, the RCM predicts that an additional 3,000 midwives are currently needed to cope with the burgeoning number of births in UK hospitals. And with estimates putting the figure at as many as 20,000 additional births each year for the next decade, the current ratio of midwives to annual births will be unsustainable long-term.

Conditions Associated With Negligence At Birth

“Birth injury” collectively refers to a group of disorders often seen in cases where medical professionals are found to have been negligent in the handing of a difficult labour. One of the most common is Cerebral Palsy; a group of conditions which affect motor skills, co-ordination and posture. Whilst there is no known cause for the condition in unborn infants, our solicitors have encountered many cases where doctors have failed to pick up on signs of the baby in distress, leading to oxygen deprivation.

Failures prior to labour can also present significant problems for an unborn child, particularly if the baby is far larger than expected and vaginal delivery is more difficult. Larger babies are often susceptible to shoulder dystocia, which is caused by the anterior shoulder getting stuck behind the pelvic bone. A Caesarean or episiotomy will usually be ordered to prevent the likelihood of the child becoming stuck during labour, which in turn can lead to injury to the Brachial Plexus if the use of forceps is required, as well as oxygen deprivation due to the process taking far longer than it should. These are failures which, medically, can often be prevented with consistent monitoring, diagnosis and planning, and will usually be grounds on which a claim can be filed.

Do You Have a Claim?

In order to qualify for no win no fee assistance, and have any hope of a successful outcome, there are several criteria which must be satisfied at the time of application. Firstly, there must be sufficient proof that a medical professional has breached his/ her duty of care to the patient, be this through malpractice, error or negligence.

Secondly, it must be demonstrated that no other causal link than this breach in duty could have led to the patient's injuries. Naturally, we don't expect you to be able to gather the required evidence necessary to prove your case, and in many cases, we are able to corroborate these details with a quick claim assessment when you contact us.

If you think you may have grounds for a claim following a mismanaged or difficult labour, and would like tailored advice regarding your options, book a consultation with one of our birth injury specialists via our website Medical-Negligence.com, or call us directly on the dedicated number provided.

03 April 2013

Cerebral Palsy compensation claims

Cerebral Palsy is a devastating injury which occurs at some point early in life, either while the baby is still growing in the womb or shortly afterwards when something disturbs the normal development of the brain or injures the brain tissues. The condition affects the nerve signals between the brain and the muscles and results in the baby or young child having difficulties with movement, posture and coordination. There are differences in severity, so some have only mild disabilities with others more severe.

Sadly it is relatively common, affecting as many as one in every 400 children; so as many as 2,000 babies are diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy every year. Whilst there is no cure for the condition, there are many treatments and therapies that can be used to reduce the impact it has on an individual’s life.

Every year there are compensation claims taken against the NHS relating to Cerebral Palsy due to Medical Negligence and Clinical Negligence. Late last year the family of a young boy won a case against the Princess Alexandra Hospital in Harlow after he was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy following complications with his birth. The NHS has admitted liability, accepting that an earlier delivery of the baby would have avoided injury and Cerebral Palsy. The boy is likely to need 24-hour care for the rest of his life and his family has been granted an interim compensation payment of £150,000 while his care package is being worked out.

The amount that a successful claimant is likely to receive varies according to many different factors. These include previous financial settlements which bear similarities to the case in question, the extent of the disability, the pain and suffering already experienced and calculations on the level of care needed for the future. It is therefore an amount which is not an exact science. It is not directly calculable and involves the court, to some extent, looking ahead to see how the child will be affected in the near and distant future.

Damages or compensation are divided into two main categories named general and special. General damages are those items which are not exactly quantifiable, such as pain and suffering which we have already mentioned. No receipts or invoices can be produced to show how much the suffering is worth. Therefore the judge in the case has to assess the level of damages based on their previous experience and after listening to submissions from either side.

Special damages are those items that can be calculated exactly and for which receipts and invoices can be produced. So the cost of care, any special equipment that has to be purchased and loss of earnings all fall into this category. For this reason anyone wanting to make a claim would be well advised to keep any bills, receipts etc so they can claim for any outlay incurred.

Interest will be added in a Cerebral Palsy claim onto both general and special damages, though the rules are quite complex. Also, as we have seen in the Harlow case mentioned above, interim compensation may be awarded in some cases. This is where the defendants - in Cerebral Palsy cases usually an NHS trust - have admitted liability or have been found guilty but a compensation figure has not yet been agreed.

Therefore the claimant will get damages and usually a sizeable amount, but it has not yet been clarified. The interim figure will provide an amount to cover them until the case is brought back before the court. It is mainly applied in larger claims which can take some time for a final figure to be decided upon.