Declan has the condition cerebral palsy, in this video his parents explain the effects his condition has had on Declan and the whole family, whilst also discussing the help that is available. Clinical negligence solicitor Judith Thomas-Whittingham also comments on the role Stephensons took in trying to ensure Declan and his family receive all the support available to them.
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Declan's Story - video transcript
Ian: Declan is our third child. There was no problem before. What's gone wrong this time? You know, what’s gone on?
Julie: It come to the time to deliver him, and he was flat. No one told us at all what had gone on. We were just like ... You know, everyone said, babe, everything is fine. You know, everything is fine. No one had said you know, expect this, you know. So twelve days had passed in neonatal. We took him home.
Ian: He was fine wasn’t he?
Julie: Yeah, everything was fine. He was feeding, and it was just one day out of the blue he was screaming, screaming, uncontrollable screaming, arching his back. We went to see a paediatrician, and then they did the MRI scan, and it confirmed that ...
Ian: He had evolving cerebral palsy.
Julie: ... he had evolving cerebral palsy.
Ian: It felt numb to be honest because we didn't know what to do. We had no idea what to do. The only thing we could think of is we went to the citizens advice bureau hoping they'd have an answer of some sort. They said you are going to need a solicitor, and he advised us to contact a company called Stephensons.
For the other kids, it's ...
Julie: It's been hard.
Ian: ... it’s been hard because we've done stints of seven weeks in hospital, eleven weeks in hospital. And basically, it's for the other kids, who's home tonight? Is it dad home tonight, or is it mum home tonight?
Julie: There was a point where I mean it did break my heart where you come in, and found our eldest curled up on the bathroom floor ...
Julie: Is Declan going to be all right? I don't want to go to school. He deserves better, you know, and finding out that the hospital didn't do what they should have done, well, I said to him we'll fight for that.
Ian: He'll never, never be independent. He'll always need either ourselves or other carers with 24-hour care. Yeah, okay, he's fed through a tube. He breathes through a tube. He has a rod in his back to keep his spine straight. That's just part of him now, and to be honest, all hate dissipates when we catch that glint in his eye, and he smiles at you. You know he's there and he's saying, "Dad, I'm still there. Don't worry. I'm doing my best as I am," and that's it.
Judith: I'm Judith Thomas-Whittingham and I'm the head of clinical negligence and a partner at Stephensons Solicitors. Cerebral Palsy cases affect the whole family not just the child, not just the parents but the whole network surrounding them, the friends and the families. A lot of the time the needs of the child with Cerebral Palsy takes over absolutely everything. The relationship between the parents, the relationships they have with their own brothers and sisters, and family members, and it's a full time, 24-hour job.
The priorities are always the child's health first and foremost. So we need to make sure that the parents are concentrating on getting the best health, and health care support that the child can get. Things like benefits that maybe that they are entitled to, or any social services support that they can get is often put to one side by the parents, and that's where Stephensons can help. We can be working in the background making sure that they are getting all the financial support and social services support that's absolutely essential for them.
In Declan's case, it's been wonderful to see the compensation that has been awarded to Declan, how much that has had a huge impact on Julie, Ian, Declan, and the rest of their family. It's wonderful to go and spend time in the sensory room with Declan, and see how much the family have benefited from the compensation. He's now settled in and it's marvellous to see that the money can and does help.