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Diagnosis of cerebral palsy - Nicole's story

Parents of Nicole Loughrey and our medical negligence expert Judith Thomas-Whittingham discuss the journey the family has been on since her traumatic birth which led to a diagnosis of cerebral palsy.

Judith continues to support the family throughout the long and emotional legal process to ensure Nicole will have the funds in place to secure a safe future and ensure her care and accommodation needs are provided for the remainder of her life.

The legal case is drawing to a conclusion and the family is looking forward to moving to a more suitable property which will provide a safer environment for Nicole.

If you would like advice from one of Stephensons’ expert legal advisers please get in touch on 01616 966 229.

Diagnosis of Cerebral Palsy - Nicole's story video transcript

Nicole's mum: Nicole's a 16 year old girl, young lady, and she really enjoys things like music, dancing, performing on a little stage in front of her dog. She loves her sport, she likes playing pool. She's quite active really, and happy.

I'd had two children prior to Nicole and had problems with them, so I did request a caesarean section, but was told every labour is different. Anyway she was born naturally and suffered brain injury through the birth. Initially I didn't realise how bad it was until the next day when the special care staff came to me and said, "come down we want to discuss Nicole's treatment." When I saw her fitting and she had to go for brain scans, etcetera, I realised then it was wrong.

The reason I took or went to take legal assistance and looked into it is because when I went for my six week check, rather than having a six week check, it was more like a consultation as to why they thought they'd done the right thing. I knew then that no it shouldn't be happening and it was wrong.

Nicole: (singing)

Nicole's mum: We do struggle. We have struggled over the years to try and be as normal as possible. This house, at the minute, it's ample size if you're just be going through normal life, but we've had to convert one of the bedrooms into two. Where Nicole is it's tiny and her big sister's next door and she can hear the television, etcetera. It's just not right for what she needs.

Judith Thomas-Whittingham: The home which Nicole currently lives in with her family is a beautiful home, but unfortunately is no longer suitable for Nicole's needs. Nicole is quite vulnerable, and therefore she cannot appreciate dangers as you and I may be able to appreciate dangers. Therefore single story accommodation would be far more safe for Nicole to get about.

Nicole's mum: She does need that little bit of independence, but so do we, we're getting a bit older. We want to be her parents rather than her carer as well.

Judith: It's also important for Nicole's family to be able to get back to their normal family life and for Nicole's mum to continue working and her dad and her sisters to continue working. Therefore Nicole needs the independence of a carer to allow her to have her life and also the family to enjoy their lives too.

Mom: I still wanted her next to me in the house, but have her own independence as well so all I’ve ever said is that we want a house with an annexe and that'll give her the independence but it will also give her the security that we are next to her. If she wants us at any time, we're always there.

Financial advisor: What a financial advisor's role to do is to work out all of the costs going forward, so once the case has got to the point of it's going to settle, work out what we call a required rate of return. You're looking at Nicole's life expectancy, you're looking at how much money we've got as an award, and we're looking at how much we need to make every year for that money to last.

Once the legal case is settled, the Loughrey's are finished at that point. The financial part really starts then because the money needs to last for the rest of Nicole's life. A financial advisor will step in at that point and then start giving the proper advice to make sure that award lasts and work with Nicole and the family to make sure it does.

Nicole's mum: Judith and her team, every step of the way they've been there for me and they've told me exactly what's going on and what steps we need to take. Because Nicole's notes or my notes went missing, and they basically had to work back to front- they had to do all the groundwork without any notes, I really don't know how they've done it, but they have. They've just been fantastic and they've given Nicole and ourselves a better future.