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Apology For Pembrokeshire Family Over Son’s Birth Injury

April 2, 2010

A health board has apologised to the parents of a four-year-old boy who was left with a disability because of mistakes made during his birth.

Matthew Griffiths, from Haverfordwest in Pembrokeshire, has a severely disabled left arm as a result of errors made by midwives.

His parents have been told they can now expect a six-figure sum in compensation.

Hywel Dda Health Board apologised and said lessons had been learnt.

Matthew’s mother Diane said the compensation would enable her son to have the best possible start in adult life.

“He can only use one hand properly. He can’t dress himself, he can’t cut food up, drinking with a cup is a problem,” she said.

“He will have to have quite a few adjustments because his left hand is shorter than his right.

“He will have a limited choice of jobs – he won’t be able to do manual work.”

The compensation will be held in a trust fund until Matthew is 18 years old.

“Nothing will compensate for the fact that my son was injured but we know we can look back and say we’ve done everything we could possibly do for him,” she said.

Diane Griffiths with Matthew as a baby

Problems first arose when Diane Griffiths developed gestational diabetes

“It’s there for him to know that he can have the best possible start for his adult life.”

She said Matthew became frustrated when he could not do the things other boys of his age were able to do.

But she added: “Despite the difficulties he faces, he does try to live life to the full.

“Matt has just started gymnastics for the disabled. He absolutely loves it and, who knows, my determined little boy may be a Paralympian one day!”

Hywel Dda Health Board said in a statement that it “apologises for this incident and any distress caused to the family”.

It added: “Lessons have been learnt and action undertaken to address failings.”

The family’s solicitors, Irwin Mitchell, said problems had first arisen when Matthew’s mother developed gestational diabetes during pregnancy.

Medical negligence solicitor Cathie Delaney said: “The fact that both Diane and Matthew received sub-standard midwifery care is serious cause for concern.

“Even after Diane’s diabetes went undetected, resulting in baby Matthew being larger than normal at birth, there are universally accepted guidelines and procedures for dealing with a baby whose shoulders become stuck during delivery.

“Sadly, the midwives failed to follow these procedures, which have been common obstetric practice since the mid to late 1990s, resulting in Matthew sustaining permanent nerve damage to his left shoulder.”

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