A CHILD whose difficult birth left him wheelchair bound has won a multi-million pound payout from health chiefs – two years after his father killed himself because he couldn’t cope with his son’s condition.
Six-year-old Jensen Carter – son of former Sunderland goalkeeper Tim Carter – had a difficult birth in October 2003 at the University Hospital of North Durham which left him with cerebral palsy.
In November 2008, the County Durham and Darlington Foundation Trust admitted liability for their “negligent delay” in Jensen’s delivery.
Trust bossed accepted the use of Syntocinon, a drug used in obstetrics when labour is prolonged, should not have been administered when the baby showed “clear signs of foetal distress”.
Jensen was diagnosed with cerebral palsy which affects all four of his limbs, as well as communication and feeding problems, and he will never be able to support himself financially.
The money will ensure he will have full-time care for the rest of his life.
The seven-figure settlement was agreed in London’s High Court yesterday by Mr Justice Roderick Evans. Jensen will receive a one-off payment followed by annual payments throughout his life.
Two years ago an inquest ruled the youngster’s father committed suicide when the 40-year-old suffered “a difficult time” following Jensen’s birth.
The hearing was told that he hoped for a son who would follow in his footsteps as a professional footballer.
His body was found in bushes in Stretford, Manchester, in June 2008.
The previous day the goalkeeper, who played 50 games for Sunderland between 1987 and 1992, had returned alone to the UK from a family holiday in Majorca.
After the High Court hearing, Jensen’s mother, Gina, 39, from Washington, said the payout would never compensate for the life-long struggle her son now faces.
“We knew all along a huge mistake had been made with Jensen’s delivery,” she said.
“He was so ill and I was in intensive care. We have been trying ever since to get answers. Jensen is an adorable, handsome character. He doesn’t deserve to be like this.
“My 10-year-old daughter Sasha has been a rock and is fantastic with Jensen, but families should not have to go through what we have been through.” Since 2007, Jensen has attended Newcastle’s Percy Hedley School, a specialist centre for children with cerebral palsy, children with hearing or visual impairments and children with speech, language and communication difficulties.
Angela Curran, a clinical negligence solicitor from Burnetts in Newcastle, who specialises in birth trauma cases, acted for the Carter family.
She said: “The use of the drug Syntocinon is common in obstetrics when labour is prolonged, but in this case, when there were clear signs of feotal distress, it was a catastrophic decision and one which contravened the guidelines of Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists.
“After years of struggling for justice for Jensen, Gina and her family can now look forward and start to provide Jensen with the equipment he needs.
“Jensen has been assessed by an army of experts including occupational therapists, physiotherapists, and neurologists. Our hope is that technology will help Jensen to experience some independent mobility. He is an intelligent child and helping him to communicate verbally is a priority.”
In recognition of the help Jensen has received, Gina set up the Tim Carter Appeal 18 months ago in memory of her late husband.
The appeal aims to raise funds to enable the Percy Hedley Foundation to build a new hydrotherapy pool and the team has already raised £500,000 towards the target of £1.2m.
Gina said: “The pool will be built in Tim’s name and will a huge benefit to Jensen, Percy Hedley and other disabled people in the area.
“It has been a very difficult few years, but now we can look forward and achieve something positive out of a tragic situation.”