A scandal-hit health board has apologised for failing to provide the correct care after a baby was born with severe brain damage at a hospital in south Wales.
It comes as the High Court approved an £8 million settlement for the seven-year-old child who suffered extensive injuries following a delayed caesarean section at the Royal Glamorgan Hospital in Llantrisant in 2013.
They suffered extensive injuries including brain damage resulting in the most severe type of cerebral palsy, affecting all four limbs. The child is wheelchair dependent, are non-verbal, require feeding through a tube and need two carers 24 hours a day.
The hospital, run by the Cwm Taf Morgannwg University Health Board whose maternity services were placed into special measures in 2019, has admitted liability for failing to follow local and national guidelines, and failing to deliver the baby by emergency c-section within the correct timeframe.
A report published in January last year found there was "still a long way to go" for the health board to provide safe and high quality maternity services.
The parents of the child, who are protected by anonymity, reported that the correct referrals were not made after the mother experienced reduced movement when she was 32 weeks pregnant.
"It took the hospital a further nine weeks before urgent medical intervention led to a c-section", the solicitor representing the family said.
"This should have taken place six days earlier at the latest This prolonged period of inadequate medical care meant that the baby continued to be in distress, and they suffered oxygen deprivation before, during and after their birth", Diane Rostron added.
"Their injuries are catastrophic and amongst the most severe that I have seen during my 25 years of practice."
Whilst also requiring round the clock care, the child's life expectancy has been shorted to their 20s.
Following today’s High Court hearing, the parents commented: “The settlement provides relief that our child can now receive the quality of care that they need for the rest of their lives. We were initially led to believe that their injuries were one of those things.
“They are in pain daily, are non-verbal, are permanently wheelchair dependent and need regular and varied therapies. We have become carers as well as parents and the demands of meeting our child’s complex needs has had a profound impact on their siblings also.
“Today’s decision means that we have peace of mind that we can provide the quality of care that our child needs including lifetime care, quality therapies and specialist equipment. We have not come to terms with the diagnosis of a shortened life expectancy and continue to grieve for the child that we have lost with daily reminders of the life they should have had.”
The health board said it is working hard to make "major improvements" to its maternity services.
Greg Dix, Executive Director of Nursing and Midwifery at Cwm Taf Morgannwg UHB said in a statement, “We are deeply sorry for the failings in the care provided to the family. We are committed to providing safe and high quality care for women, babies and their families.
"We are currently working hard with the Independent Maternity Services Oversight Panel (IMSOP) to make major improvements to our maternity service, while ensuring that the mistakes of the past are never forgotten. We are determined to ensure that lessons are learnt and improvements are made so we can provide women and families with the very best possible care.”