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Clinical Negligence Solicitors

Language Barrier: Sri Lankan Couple win Clinical Negligence Claim (30 May 2018)

Date: 30/05/2018
Duncan Lewis, Clinical Negligence Solicitors, Language Barrier: Sri Lankan Couple win Clinical Negligence Claim

A Sri Lankan mother gave birth to her son who subsequently suffered severe brain damage as a result of the midwives negligence. She brought a claim against Barking, Havering & Redbridge NHS Foundation Trust and has successfully been awarded damages.

Mrs Rajatheepan delivered a healthy baby boy by caesarean section at King George Hospital. She was discharged without the midwives confirming she had a sufficient understanding on how to breastfeed her son. As a result her son went without food for 15 hours. This caused him to develop cerebral palsy, which is a life threatening condition that delays development in his brain and bones.

After the birth Mrs Rajatheepan was given limited instructions on how to breast feed her son and was not offered an interpreter even though she understood little English. When she expressed her concerns that her son was not feeding properly to the midwives she was ignored.

The midwives insisted that it was normal for newborns to cry persistently. They missed the early intervention signs that the baby was not feeding correctly. The midwives were aware that this was the mother’s first baby and that she had extremely limited understanding of English. Despite guidelines being in place to arrange interpreters via the NHS language line, the midwives took no steps to either obtain an interpreter or to see if the family had anyone who could assist in translation before being discharged.

After being discharged the midwife visited the family at their home and found the baby to be in a poor condition. He had developed hypoglycaemia due to lack of adequate nutrition. Despite being admitted to hospital, he was left with brain damage and permanent impaired physical and cognitive behavior function.

The court held the hospital staff had been negligent and the care fell below an acceptable standard since no attempt had been made to arrange a translator as per the guidelines.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) guidelines on post-natal care state that a health care professional should ensure that a mother is aware of the signs and symptoms should any problems occur.

“If you give birth in hospital and go home soon after, you should be reassured that you will still be able to breastfeed successfully”

Brain injury is a very complex area and it can take time for the doctors to assess the extent to which the brain is damaged. This is why medical intervention in the early stages of development is essential to assess and limit any further damage that could be caused.

Nilma Shah is an experienced Solicitor in the Clinical Negligence and Personal Injury departments at Duncan Lewis with more than 4 years PQE. She regularly handles different types of serious injury claims, providing legal representation to clients who have suffered injustice through the hands of the NHS and have sustained serious injuries, from birth injury claims to misdiagnosis claims.

Contact Nilma on 020 3114 1274 or via email at nilmap@duncanlewis.com.


Duncan Lewis Clinical Negligence Solicitors

Duncan Lewis’ Clinical Negligence team have extensive expertise in brain injury claims, resulting from medical negligence, including birth injuries, misdiagnosis, prescribing errors and surgical errors.

As a Chambers & Partners 2017/18 recommended firm, Duncan Lewis Solicitors are adept in personal injury matters. We are the largest UK provider of Legal Aid and specialists in no win no fee claims, meaning our solicitors can advise on making a brain injury claim which protects your interests.

If you or someone you know requires expert advice on a brain injury claim, call Duncan Lewis on 0333 772 0409.


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