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Last Updated: Tuesday, 13 March 2007, 16:12 GMT
Compensation for Caesarean delay
Jac Richards
Jac Richards suffered oxygen starvation before his birth
A 10-year-old boy left disabled after a delay in his caesarean delivery has won the right to receive compensation.

Jac Richards suffered oxygen starvation before his birth at Swansea's Singleton Hospital, causing brain damage.

London's High Court ruled he would have escaped injury had he been delivered 10 minutes earlier, and guaranteed Jac, from Llanelli, full compensation.

The compensation figure will be settled at a later date. Swansea NHS Trust said it was considering the judgement.

The trust had denied liability for Jac's injuries.

Jac, who has cerebral palsy, sued the trust through his mother, Joanne Richards.

I've never been afraid for his future but I just want him to reach the best potential that he can
Joanne Richards

Mr Justice Field, sitting at the High Court, said there had been signs that Jac was suffering distress in his mother's womb and the decision was taken at 1.10 pm on 15 May, 1996 to deliver him by emergency Caesarean section.

Experts agreed that, had he been born by 1.55pm, he would have escaped damage to his brain.

But a crucial 10-minute delay meant he was not born until 2.05pm.

Ruling the NHS Trust liable, the judge said: "In the absence of any evidence that there were logistical constraints on those attending Mrs Richards that prevent Jac from being delivered within 45 minutes of 1.10pm, I infer that there were no such constraints.

"I find that Jac has established on the balance of probabilities that those attending Mrs Richards negligently failed to deliver Jac as fast as possible and that, had they not been so negligent, Jac would have been born before 1.55pm and intact."

Jac Richards and his parents Hywel and Joanne Richards
The trust said it was considering the judgement

The final amount of Jac's damages will be assessed at another court hearing, unless final settlement terms are agreed in the meantime.

Welcoming the judge's ruling Jac's mother Joanne Richards said: "I've never been afraid for his future but I just want him to reach the best potential that he can and that can only be done through therapies and equipment.

"Everything's such a battle. This will take that away.

So it would I suppose mean that we have a better quality of life with Jac so we can enjoy more rather than the worry.

"He's a fantastic little boy, we're so blessed to have him," added Mrs Richards.

Swansea NHS Trust said in a statement: "Swansea NHS Trust has recently received the judgement and we are presently considering it.

"It would be inappropriate to comment further in the meantime."

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