Settlement of Claim for the Failure to Act on Pre-Birth Scans Approved in Court

The settlement of a claim for the failure to act on pre-birth scans has been approved in favour of a seven year old boy suffering from cerebral palsy.

Kit van Berckel was born at the Harrogate District Hospital ten days overdue on 31st May 2008. In the run up to his birth, medical staff continually failed to correctly interpret and act on pre-birth scans that indicated Kit was suffering foetal distress in his mother´s womb. When Kit was delivered, no heartbeat was recorded and he needed resuscitating.

Due to being deprived of oxygen in the womb, Kit suffered a significant brain injury and was diagnosed with dyskinetic cerebral palsy. He is unable to sit without help, has no independent mobility and cannot feed himself. Despite being unable to speak, Kit attends a mainstream school, where he uses eye gaze technology and other hi-tech systems to communicate.

Through his parents – Joanna and Charles Berckel from Harrogate in North Yorkshire – Kit made a claim for the failure to act on pre-birth scans, alleging that his injuries were attributable to the negligence of the staff at Harrogate District Hospital. Following an investigation by the Harrogate Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, there was a full admission of liability.

Over the following months, a care and rehabilitation package was negotiated – although Kit will remain living with his parents at their specially constructed home in Harrogate. The full value of the settlement of the claim for the failure to act on pre-birth scans is calculated to be worth £9.872 million, and earlier this week the settlement was approved at the Leeds High Court.

After the approval hearing, Kit´s mother said: “We were devastated and heartbroken when we found out that Kit’s condition could have been avoided if mistakes had not been made during his delivery.  There needs to be a fundamental overhaul of accountability and management procedures to minimise the opportunity of negligence caused by medical staff.”