Hospital blames mother for son’s brain damage

ANGRY Karen Harper and her son Nathan, who was brain-damaged during birth.   Picture: Paul Jacobs (110315-3)
ANGRY Karen Harper and her son Nathan, who was brain-damaged during birth. Picture: Paul Jacobs (110315-3)
Picture: HMRC

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A MUM whose son was born brain damaged is suing the NHS after being told it was her fault.

Medics said Karen Harper was ‘reluctant’ to push and ‘unco-operative’ while giving birth to son Nathan at St Mary’s Hospital in Milton.

Now the 45-year-old is suing Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust in the High Court on the grounds that there was a negligent delay in delivering Nathan that left him with cerebral palsy.

Miss Harper, of Stanley Road, Stamshaw, said: ‘It’s not about the money, it’s about them doing the right thing by Nathan, putting their hands up and admitting they were wrong.’

Nathan was resuscitated, suffered seizures and was put on a ventilator after his traumatic birth on July 8, 1997.

He had suffered a broken arm during delivery and Miss Harper even arranged for Nathan to be christened in hospital after being told he might not survive.

She kept a vigil at his bedside for five weeks before Nathan was discharged, only to be told about two months later that her son – now 13 – had cerebral palsy which affects his speech, limbs and movement.

The pair are pictured on the front page when Nathan came home for the first time after three months in hospital.

About four years ago Nathan was also diagnosed with epilepsy.

But when Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust was contacted by Miss Harper’s solicitors, they denied clinical negligence and instead blamed her for his ill-health.

A letter from law firm Beachcroft claims Miss Harper was ‘unco-operative’ with a consultant called Mr Drake during labour. It reads: ‘Mr Drake was receiving little co-operation from Miss Harper.

‘When the head was delivered she failed to apply any maternal effort to push the baby out.

‘Indeed, Mr Drake felt compelled to tell her that she must follow his instructions if she wanted the baby to be born uninjured.’

Miss Harper, also mum to five-year-old Samuel, said: ‘They are saying it’s my fault. It’s totally unbelievable that they could say I’m an unco-operative patient.

‘They are the professionals, they should have been there to tell me what to do.

‘I had never had a baby before. I was terrified. I didn’t know what to expect. I was never encouraged, my mind wasn’t put at rest. I was doing everything they said.

‘I did my best – I don’t know what else I could have done.’

She added: ‘I will fight and do everything I can for Nathan because I’m his mother and that’s what I’ve been put on this earth for.’

A Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust spokeswoman said: ‘As proceedings are active the trust is not in a position to comment.’