£175,000 hospital payout for Sunderland boy

Erb's palsy sufferer Callum Jacques.
Erb's palsy sufferer Callum Jacques.
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A TEENAGER has been awarded £175,000 after he was born unable to use his right arm.

The family of Callum Jacques has been fighting for compensation after medics at Sunderland Royal Hospital failed to diagnose a form of paralysis known as Erb’s Palsy.

Callum’s mum, Anna, of Southwick Road, Sunderland, today told how she hopes the payout will give her son the opportunity to go to college and achieve his dreams.

Immediately after Callum’s birth, doctors told Anna that her baby boy’s shoulders right shoulder was swollen but would mend itself in time.

The mum-of-three also says medics failed to tell her that Callum had to be resuscitated when he was born.

Anna, 33, said: “I didn’t found out he’d been born dead until I read the notes after being discharged - how can they not tell you something like that?

“We knew he was going to be a big baby and I wanted to have a Caesarean section which I’d already had with Callum’s sister, Lauren, but they just kept telling me that there was nothing like a natural birth and insisted that I went through with it.

“He was two-days-old when I got to hold him. They told me his shoulder was swollen and it would sort itself out in a fortnight.”

But after 10 weeks, when there was no signs of improvement, Anna’s mum, Margaret Gray, suggested they should go back to the hospital.

Anna said: “The hospital wouldn’t accept liability and they said there was nothing they could do. They told us he had Erb’s Palsy but that I’d just have to go home and get on with it.”

With no knowledge of the condition, it wasn’t until Anna saw a story in the Echo that she got the help she was seeking.

In March of 1999, the Echo ran a story about Meg Thompson, of Plains Farm, who was seeking treatment for her five-month-old granddaughter Megan who had the same condition.

Anna said: “If it wasn’t for that story being in the Echo I wouldn’t have known anything about Erb’s Palsy. After getting in touch I was told to go to my GP and ask for a referral to St James’ University Hospital in Leeds.

“The doctor said it was the worst case of Erb’s Palsy he’d seen in 10 years, and by this time Callum was 18-months-old and they usually like to see the babies by the time they’re three-months.

“Since we’ve been referred he’s had a series of operations and had nerves and muscles transplanted into his arm.

“He’s really great about it and doesn’t let it bother him so much but I feel really sorry for him at times.

“All his friends at school recently went on a paintballing trip and he couldn’t take part because he can’t use his right arm so wouldn’t have been able to hold and use the gun.”

Since being rewarded with the £175,000 out-of-court settlement from the hospital, Callum, a Monkwearmouth School pupil, has been thinking about what he’d like to do with the money.

Anna said: “He saw an advert for Gateshead College on the telly the other day and said ‘Mam, that’s what I want to do with the money, I want to go there’.

“He says he wants to study either computers or sport - he’s sport mad. We could have got a lot more money if we’d went through the courts but we were told there was a risk that we could end up with nothing and that’s not what it’s about anyway.

“What I want is for the hospital to say that they were in the wrong.”

A spokesman for City Hospitals Sunderland said: “City Hospitals is pleased that settlement as been agreed between the parties and hopes it

will provide Callum and his family security for the future. The trust wishes Callum and his family well.”

To find out more about Erb’s Palsy {http://www.erbspalsygroup.co.uk|click here|Click here to vist the Erb’s Palsy website}