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Suzanne Townley

News Editor, Solicitors Journal

RWK Goodman secure multi-million-pound award for catastrophic birth injury

RWK Goodman secure multi-million-pound award for catastrophic birth injury


The firm secured more than £4.5m for its client 

Top 100 law firm RWK Goodman has secured a multi-million-pound award for the family of a teenage boy who suffered a catastrophic birth injury leaving him requiring around-the-clock care.

The family of the 14-year-old boy, named by the courts as EBZ, has successfully pursued Lewisham & Greenwich NHS Trust following mistakes made during his birth in 2007 that caused a catastrophic hypoxic-ischaemic brain injury.

EBZ is unable to swallow, has no verbal communication, is registered blind, doubly incontinent, suffers seizures, with no mobility reliant on a wheelchair and is entirely tube fed. He is unable to use his hands to assist in daily living and is non-verbal yet is able to communicate through facial expressions. EBZ requires 24-hour care, with care needs expected to be increasingly complex as he gets older.

The High Court decision on 16 May awarded EBZ’s parents a lump sum of £4,554,670 alongside an annual payment of £230,672 until his 19th birthday, increasing to £330,672 for the remainder of his life. EBZ has a limited life expectancy of 29 years.

Deputy High Court Judge Richard Hermer QC said: “It is clear that notwithstanding the severity, he is a special young person that delights in the company of his younger sister, takes joy and comfort in activities at school such as the hydrotherapy pool or having his teeth brushed by a parent.

“The statements from his parents and the photographs they provided to the Court shows that he has enjoyed special times including with his father at the football and with his mother and sister at the London Aquarium. Mum describes that she is filled with joy when her son smiles and giggles.”

Lucy Crawford, senior associate in the medical negligence team at RWK Goodman who has advised EBZ’s family for the past 13 years said: “This is a highly unusual and complex case. Following initial investigations and proactive discussions with the Defendant representatives, Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust admitted fault.

“From there, the RWK Goodman legal team were able to quickly obtain interim payments from the Defendant to support EBZ’s family to obtain the best possible resources and equipment to meet his needs and improve his quality of life pending his claim being capable of final quantification. 

“The final award will allow this support to continue and provides financial protection and security for EBZ for the rest of his life. Between both the Claimant and Defendant, there were over 20 experts, which highlights the very complex nature of EBZ’s injuries.”

Crawford added: “Whilst no family would want to be put in this position, the court’s decision is extremely rewarding. It will allow EBZ to receive the care he needs and deserves and to live the best possible life he can have.

“He is a smiling, happy boy and I really hope this award will allow EBZ’s parents to enjoy time as parents once more, and not have to focus on his care. Throughout the claim, the parents have been utterly dedicated to EBZ and have always focused on what EBZ can do and achieve. I am really looking forward to finding out about his successes as he grows older and pay tribute to his family and friends.”

The client team included partner Richard Coleman and partner and head of the firm’s injury team Tracy Norris-Evans, who is the court appointed Deputy for EBZ. They were supported by a team of 13 medical experts.