BRAIN DAMAGE BOY WINS PAYOUT BATTLE.
PARENTS of a child left severely brain damaged after being starved of oxygen at birth were today set to win a legal battle against the NHS.
Rachel and Julian O'Reggio's tenyear-old son Joe has been left with cerebral palsy as a result of the brain injury he suffered during his birth at Wolverhampton's New Cross Hospital in April 2001.
Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust was today making a partial admission of liability at the High Court in London, which paves the way for an expected seven figure payout to cover a lifetime of care for the youngster.
The Trust admitted staff failed to spot Joe was in distress, resulting in critical delays in his delivery, but claimed this made no difference to him suffering brain damage. Mrs O'Reggio, aged 39, and her 37-year-old husband, from Wednesfield, are both credit managers and also have three other children Molly, eight, Phoebe, three and 15-month-old Oliver. They said Joe cannot speak or feed himself. He is completely reliant on a wheelchair and has severe learning difficulties.
Mrs O'Reggio said: "Whilst no amount of money will make Joe better, the compensation will give him the financial security to provide the necessary care for the rest of his life.
"Although the Trust does not accept full liability, we are pleased that we can move forward and hopefully now agree a final settlement. We also hope that lessons have been learnt in order that no other family has to go through what we have been through.
"Joe is a lovely little boy and everybody who meets him, adores him. Whilst he is so severely challenged, he does have some level of understanding and this often results in him having extreme frustration tantrums."
Family solicitor Sara Burns, from Irwin Mitchell law firm, said: "In the hours prior to baby Joe's birth, hospital staff failed to recognise that he was in distress. Our medical experts say that this should have led to a decision to deliver him by emergency caesarean section and if he had been born just an hour earlier his subsequent brain injury would have been avoided.
A Royal Wolverhampton Hospitals Trust spokeswoman said: "The Trust is pleased to confirm that the issue of liability for Joseph's injuries has been agreed in relation to his claim against the Trust and this agreement will be reported to the court."
Birth problems: Joe O'Reggio with his mum and dad after his birth at New Cross Hospital, Wolverhampton. Hospital ordeal: Joe O'Reggio, ten, from Wednesfield, Wolverhampton, and (left) Joe pictured at home with his mum and dad Rachel and Julian and (from left) siblings Phoebe, three, Molly, eight, and Oliver, 15 months. Pictures: Darren Quinton