�4m hospital pay-out for mum and son

A MOTHER and son who both suffered brain damage after she had a fit when left unattended in a bath during labour have been awarded �4 million compensation.

Richard Cornwell

A MOTHER and son who both suffered brain damage after she had a fit when left unattended in a bath during labour have been awarded �4 million compensation.

Epileptic mum-to-be Rebecca Waite and her unborn baby almost drowned in the incident at Ipswich Hospital.

The High Court heard Miss Waite, 19 at the time, and known to be an unstable epileptic, was advised by a midwife to take a bath for pain relief.


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Her barrister, Margaret Bowron QC, said that, “tragically, as only fate can sometimes happen”, she was unattended by any hospital staff when she suffered an epileptic fit in the bath and slipped below the water.

Her partner, portworker Paul Burch, was phoning relatives at the time and discovered Rebecca, not breathing, shortly after.

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Miss Waite, of Langley Avenue, Felixstowe, was revived by hospital staff but suffered brain damage which will blight the rest of her life and she will never be able to work.

Her son, Kyle, now five, was born by emergency Caesarean section but also suffered serious neurological damage - he is not predicted to live beyond the age of 12.

The court awarded Miss Waite, now 24, about �3.4m, while Kyle receives a lump sum of �685,000 and annual payments of �140,000 to cover the cost of constant care.

The compensation package will be index-linked and tax-free to cover their care for as long as they live.

Miss Waite's solicitor Trefine Maynard said: “Many women find taking a bath during the later stages of labour helpful in managing their pain.

“However, Rebecca should never have been encouraged to have a bath unsupervised as she was known to be at risk of having a seizure.”

A spokeswoman for Ipswich Hospital NHS Trust said the trust was very sorry for the tragic consequences, and had apologised to Rebecca, Kyle and their family for the errors made.

“Ipswich Hospital NHS Trust works hard to ensure that the quality of its healthcare services continues to improve,” she said.

“It confirms that lessons have been learned from this tragic case, resulting in guidelines for the management of pregnant women with epilepsy being introduced to the trust in January 2005.”

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