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My Experience of Medical Negligence Investigation for Son

suzy39suzy39 Posts: 2Member
edited August 2016 in Parents and carers
I just thought I'd share my encounters with a medical negligence solicitor. My son was born 11 weeks early -quite a large baby at 29/40 gestation in 1996. He did not present as an oxygen starved baby at birth (normal del) He had good APGAR scores, was pink and cried. He was then carried down to special care where he was ventilated. He spent 6 weeks in there and we were told he had a small brain bleed -into 1 ventricle only and it should not cause any problems.By the time he was 2, he was diagnosed with quadraplegic cerebral palsy. I consulted a solicitor in 1999. They took the case on -well they would because if it was viable it would have been worth a lot of money to them. My son was granted legal aid but we were then passed from pillar to post, within the firm. It took over 2.5 years to commission the first report. This was unsupportive, an obstetric report that basically said I had received adequate care. Next we had to take my son for a MRI scan -he had never been offered one before. Previously at 2 years old his consultant had sent him for a CT scan which foulnd no abnormalities.
The MRI was done in 2003. It was very clear and concise, with a report from a Professor Brian Kendal. It stated that around the time of birth or leading up to the first 48 hours of life, my son sustained a lack of oxygen which basically led to the very large brain bleed he had at that time, which filled all 4 ventricles and some leaked out into the surrounding tissue. This was a grade 3-4 bleed -severe! The doctor in special care in 1996 on day 4-5 had scanned his head with a mini scanner, and reported a grade 1 bleed. Thus we were shocked to discover the truth. Clearly, had we known then how severe the bleed was, we would have known what to expect.
Armed with this knowledge, I asked the solicitor (yet another new one) to commission a specialist report from either a paediatric neurologist or a neonatologist. She assured me this would be done and was the right course of action. Sadly, 1 year later when the report was delivered, it had been done by a paediatrician. Yet again it was an unsupportive report who then wasted our time by listing all the possible reasons for my son's brain damage -all things that had been ruled out already and he would have known this if he had read the notes properly. So it was extremely disappointing to not have any idea what the cause was.
The solicitor then decided that they would write to the legal aid board and recommend discharging our certificate (funding) due to the case being a no hoper. I tried arguing it out with them and told them I was angry they had used a paediatrician who would not have the neurological expertise to examine the MRI and his care etc, but they told me that it was common practice to use a paediatrician in the first instance.
I have since found out that this is cobblers. Sadly I did not realise that I could complain about the solicitor and only had 6 months within which to do so.
I have since consulted another firm who appear to have far more expertise and was told that the previous firm had let me down badly. However, whilst this new firm wrote an excellent letter in support of my son to the legal aid board, we were denied funding. Our only option now is to pay privately. There are so many unanswered questions and queries that it makes it very hard to let this go. As a mother, we may not have a claim, but what really matters is that I need to know what went wrong.
I also find it incredible that a ct scan can show no abnormalities but an MRI can show it all -are CT's really that useless? I wouldn't have thought so. My son's notes show he was over ventilated and that he had abnormal blood gasses. This links to the type of brain damage he sustained. Also, at 24 hours old, he pulled out his ventilator tube and was left for 3.5 hours before he was re-intubated. They used a cpap machine instead during that time which delivers a strong flow of oxygen/air through the nose. He would have still had to breathe for himself. It is noted that his chest recession worsened as did his gasses. This was not mentioned in the paediatric report at all which I find strange.
My son's heart rate dropped quite low on 3 accounts, where the staff bagged and masked him -thus resuscitated him and we were never informed of this. There are too many instances where we were either mis informed or where information was withheld. Is it any wonder we are suspicious? I am now in the process of trying to find a paediatric neurologist to look at my son's notes and see if they can find a possible cause. Clearly I have to pay for the report bu I am unable to afford a solicitor -already been told it will cost around


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