Our Medical Law team have the privilege of working with and bringing justice to many inspirational Australians and their families living with cerebral palsy. Their journeys and challenges they have courageously overcome are nothing short of remarkable.
Among these inspirational individuals is our client Samara, who lives with cerebral palsy due to the mistakes made by medical professionals when she was born. However, with the help of our Medical Law team, Samara and her family were able to secure the much-needed funding required to enable her to live a happy and fulfilling life. It is our privilege to share her story with you.
Samara’s medical negligence legal journey
In January 2007, our client Amanda gave birth to her daughter Samara. At just 28 weeks, Samara suffered from immature lung development and infection and was subsequently placed in the Neonatal ICU (NICU).
As Samara’s condition gradually improved, she became stable with little ongoing concerns relating to her prematurity. The focus maintained on ensuring she continued to gain weight until her term corrected date.
However, in the weeks following this, she began experiencing an array of issues, that were not considered as serious at the time by her medical professional team. This included low oxygen saturations, temperature instability, fevers and abnormal bloodwork. She had been given a short course of antibiotics, although, her symptoms continued to worsen. Samara also became severely anemic and required a blood transfusion.
With her health rapidly deteriorating and Samara’s feeding starting to decline, an investigation was needed. The investigation and a brain scan revealed that she was in fact suffering from bacterial meningitis and had suffered extensive brain damage by the time this diagnosis was made.
This damage, caused by the medical team’s failure to identify and investigate Samara’s symptoms and treat her condition accordingly, meant Samara had suffered irreparable damage and was subsequently diagnosed with spastic quadriplegia cerebral palsy.
From the moment of diagnosis, Samara’s cerebral palsy had required around-the-clock care from her family. By the time she had turned 8, her care requirements began to exceed what her family could feasibly provide.
The family home had become unsuitable for Samara’s needs. With most of her free time spent in her bedroom (as she could not access the lounge), Samara became increasingly isolated from the rest of the house. Although her family would provide her with as much company as they could, things began to escalate further when she was unable to fit in the bath.
This became increasingly difficult as her condition meant she would become cold very quickly. As a result of not being able to use the shower, her family had to resort to giving her sponge baths in her bed. Unable to access the family area for meals and social activities, and have access generally around the house, it became an enormous struggle for not only Samara, but her family.
They knew they needed help to continue to provide Samara with the quality of life she deserved. So, Amanda began researching legal avenues to support her and her family. It was at this point she approached Clare Eves and the Shine Lawyers Medical Law team in 2015.
Using her expert knowledge of medical law and evidence from specialist medical practitioners, Clare and her team were able to argue Samara’s condition should have been correctly diagnosed as meningitis. It was through Clare’s legal expertise and passion for her clients that she was able to secure a financial settlement for Samara.
With the settlement, the family were able to move to a new home which was fully accessible to Samara. She could now spend quality time with her family outside of her room, including eating with them at the dinner table. Importantly, the new home included a personal, accessible bathroom for Samara and her needs.
For Samara’s family, the settlement meant they would have the support needed to continue her care, as well as the peace of mind that Samara would be cared for, for the rest of her life.
“Samara was not expected to survive to age 10. She is defying all the odds as her mum cares over and above meeting her needs — they are both very special people. Their struggle and strength made me even more determined to fight on their behalf,” - Clare Eves.
Cerebral palsy resulting from medical negligence
According to statistics published by the Cerebral Palsy Alliance, one in every 700 babies born in Australia has cerebral palsy. Often, cerebral palsy is the result of unforeseen complications or events occurring during pregnancy, birth, or shortly thereafter, which impact the baby’s brain development.
What birth injuries cause cerebral palsy?
Certain birth injuries can lead to an increased chance of a child being born with cerebral palsy.
These injuries can include:
- inadequate flow of oxygen to the newborn (perinatal asphyxia)
- nerve injuries sustained from pulling the newborns neck and shoulders (brachial plexus injuries)
- skull fracture sustained during birth.
Compensation for medical negligence sufferers and their families
If a healthcare provider’s negligence leads to cerebral palsy, the law is there to ensure that affected families have access to the compensation they need to live the fullest life possible without financial constraint and with the security of knowing their child will be provided for in the future.
For the clients we have helped seek justice, bringing a claim is never just about money. An award of compensation certainly relieves significant financial burden for parents and families however, more importantly, it opens up opportunities for their child to participate and contribute to their community and society.
Inspired by our clients like Samara, our team of medical law experts felt compelled to share their knowledge by producing a free guide to cerebral palsy medical negligence cases, in order to help those affected understand their legal rights. Our hope is that through this guide, families in similar circumstances will see that they are not alone and have access to the support and guidance they need.
Please download your free copy of A Guide to Medical Law in Australia: Cerebral Palsy via the link below.
Cerebral palsy birth injury lawyers and how Shine can help
Providing legal support to families navigating cerebral palsy claims like Samara’s is the Medical Law team’s specialty - we have a proven record achieving outstanding results.
If you believe you or a loved one has been injured as a result of medical negligence, contact us today for an obligation-free consultation with one of our medical law experts.
Our team are dedicated to securing the best possible outcome to help provide access to the financial, care and assistance you and your family need to heal and move forward. You’ll have peace of mind knowing that our team are also able to offer the legal support you need on a No Win No Fee basis*.
Written by Shine Lawyers. Last modified: October 5, 2021.