Judge Approves Compensation for Brain Damage at Birth due to Contraceptive Device

A judge has approved a settlement of compensation for brain damage at birth due to a contraceptive device being fitted during his mother´s pregnancy.

Cian Bowen was born to Tracy Ann Hughes and Stephen Bowen in July 2007, but eleven weeks prematurely and having sustained brain damage during the later stages of his mother´s labour. Cian was diagnosed with cerebral palsy and, although his intellect is intact, needs constant supervision.

An investigation in to Cian´s premature birth discovered that Tracy had been fitted with an intrauterine device (IUD) fourteen weeks into her pregnancy. At the time Tracy was unaware that she was pregnant but, at twenty-seven weeks, she started bleeding heavily and was taken to hospital.

As it was too late for a termination, the pregnancy was continued until Cian was delivered at twenty-nine weeks. Tracy´s doctors subsequently informed her that, had the pregnancy completed its full term, it was unlikely that Cian would have suffered any brain damage at all.

On behalf of their son, Tracy and Stephen made a claim for compensation for the brain damage at birth due to the contraceptive device being fitted during Tracy´s pregnancy. Her GP against whom the claim was made – Dr Helen Clare Jenkins – denied that her actions were liable for Cian´s injuries and she sought legal advice from the Medical Defence Union (MDU).

After a period of negotiation, it was agreed that the MDU would settle the claim against Dr Jenkins for £2.25 million – £2.05 million going to Cian in compensation for brain damage at birth due to a contraceptive device, and £200,000 being paid to Tracy for the pain and suffering she had experienced.

The offer of compensation was made without an admission of liability and was subject to approval by a judge. Consequently, at the Royal Courts of Justice in London, Mr Justice Spencer was told the circumstances of Cian´s birth and the challenges faced by Cian and his family.

Describing Cian as a “delightful little boy”, Judge Spencer approved the settlement – stating that it was a good one in the circumstances as it may have been hard to prove that the presence of the IUD was causative of Tracy´s early labour and Cian´s premature birth had the case gone to court.