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Teen twin awarded £3.9m compensation over brain damage at birth

July 24 2014

A twin who suffered brain damage after complications during birth has been awarded a compensation package worth £3.9 million.

Rachel Hartley and her twin brother Thomas were born prematurely at Hemel Hempstead Hospital in 1999 but both suffered cerebral palsy as a result of being born early.

Hospital staff had failed to realise that their mother was in premature labour when she arrived at the hospital on 25th October 1999 complaining of stomach pains.

A report by the Hemel Gazette revealed that West Hertfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust denied liability but agreed to settle the case with each twin.

The Royal Courts of Justice approved an award for Rachel of approximately £3.9m, comprised of a lump sum and annual payments to be made for the remainder of her life.

In a statement, the twins’ parents said: “We’re delighted to have reached this settlement which will help secure the future for Rachel.

“It means we are reassured that she will be given the care she needs in the future.”

The hearing was told that staff should have spotted that she was in premature labour and given drugs to preserve the pregnancy long enough so that steroids could be given to strengthen the babies’ lungs before birth.

Both Thomas and Rachel, who are now 14, suffered brain damage at birth, causing severe spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy.

They both need wheelchairs, have some learning difficulties and have trouble with fine motor hand movements.

The Trust argued that the treatment given to Mrs Hartley was reasonable and that even if they had realised she was in labour and given drugs, the twins would still have suffered disability.

If you think you or your family have suffered as a result of a mistake by a medical practitioner, contact PM Law’s team of personal injury specialists at our Sheffield office on 0114 296 5444.