An 11 year old boy who was victim of medical negligence and left with brain damage after the maternity staff did not realise that he was being starved of oxygen has been awarded a multi-million pound care package for life.
Joseph O’Reggio now has cerebral palsy which leaves him wheelchair bound for life and requiring round the clock care because doctors at New Cross Hospital failed to act quickly when his heart rate changed as he was being delivered on 14 April 2001.
Medical negligence lawyers at a law firm who were entrusted with the case won the case to get Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust to accept that Joe should have been delivered earlier and they were responsible for most of his injuries.
Now, the £6 million care package approved at the Royal Courts of Justice on 15 October to pay his future care and rehabilitation was the final piece in the long battle for justice.
The settlement would be held in a trust to cover care costs throughout Joe’s life and now the family can move into a wheelchair accessible new home that has space for the overnight carers Joe requires.
Mother of Joe Rachel, who also has two daughters and a younger son, went into labour after a healthy pregnancy on 13 April 2001, but the following day Joe’s heart rate fell and it wasn’t until just before 10pm that specialist help was called for. He was delivered by forceps, but his heart rate was weak and the irreversible brain damage had already occurred.
Rachel said she could not describe how she was feeling after hearing the courts decision. She said that it was a mixture of huge relief and happiness that Joe would now always have access to the treatment he deserves and be cared for the rest of his life.
His brother and sisters were great with Joe and love to play with him, but at his age he should be playing and running around with them. It is heartbreaking that he has not been able to meet the normal milestones in his life.
The settlement would now ensure that he would always have support and will be cared for, as well as funding all the specialist equipment he needs. However, although it draws a line under everything, nothing can turn back the clock and Julian and she said that she will always remember that if the correct decision had been made earlier, Joe would be the healthy boy of their dreams.
A Partner and medical negligence expert at the firm representing the family said the mistake should not have happened but the parents had waited patiently and with huge dignity for the settlement, which would make such a big difference to Joe’s life.