Dec 20 2012 by Caitlin Black, Harrow Observer
AN EIGHT figure sum has been awarded to a six-year-old girl and her family after doctors left her brain damaged during her birth at Northwick Park Hospital.
Aastha Patel, who will be seven at the end of the month, has severe cerebral palsy after her brain was starved of oxygen at birth because staff failed to act when her heart rate dropped.
The family, who lived in Wembley at the time, were awarded the million pound figure from North West London Hospitals NHS Trust on behalf of Northwick Park Hospital, Watford Road, Harrow.
It was heard at The High Court on Wednesday last week.
Aastha cannot walk unaided, struggles to feed herself, has epilepsy, has very limited communication and reduced eyesight, leaving her needing round-the-clock care for life.
Experts instructed by the law firm hired by Aastha’s parents found that despite midwives noticing Aastha’s heart rate was slow when her mother arrived at hospital, they failed to continuously monitor and record it and failed to call for a registrar when it slowed further.
They also confused the mother and baby’s heart rates and delayed delivery by 30 minutes.
Once Aastha was delivered, the incubator was faulty and she did not take her first breath until she was five minutes old, by which point irreparable brain damage had been caused.
Jane Weakley, a medical law expert at Irwin Mitchell’s who represented the family, said: “Aastha’s family have done an incredible job caring for her and I have no doubt she would not have developed to the level she is at now without their love and constant support.
“It will be more difficult to care for Aastha the older she is, which is why the settlement approved has come at a vital time for the family. The amount has been very carefully calculated to take into account Aastha’s exact care needs and the level of support she requires.
“Patient safety has to remain the number one priority across all departments in the NHS and we hope steps have been taken by North West London Hospitals NHS Trust to prevent the same mistakes from happening again.”
Chief executive David McVittie said: “The North West London Hospitals NHS Trust and the National Health Service Litigation Authority are pleased that Aastha’s legal claim against the Trust has now been settled and substantial damages have been agreed so that Aastha’s future is provided for.
“We deeply regret that Aastha suffered a disability and would like to apologise to her and her family for the shortcomings in the treatment given to Mrs Swati-Patel during Aastha’s birth seven years ago. We have worked hard to continue to improve the quality of our services and hope the compensation paid to Aastha will enable her to enjoy the best possible quality of life.”