When Sarah’s mother was in labour, the hospital staff failed to pick up on what should have been worrying signals coming from the CTG monitor.

After experiencing lack of oxygen at birth, Sarah* was diagnosed with mild athetoid cerebral palsy as a baby.

By age five she had vision problems and required occasional use of a wheelchair. She could finger feed, although it was somewhat clumsy and her parents had to help her at mealtimes.

Liquids also had to be thickened to make drinking easier. Her manual dexterity was poor and she was susceptible to chest infections.

The hospital Trust denied liability for Sarah’s injury and so a protracted liability trial followed.

Her parents first came to us when she was two, with the liability trial beginning three years later. We won the case and secured an interim payment for Sarah.

Court proceedings to determine the final damages for Sarah are ongoing, however, since only now, aged 12, can proper assessments of Sarah’s long-term needs be made.

But Sarah’s quality of life is already being transformed thanks to the interim funds we have been able to secure for her and the well-coordinated interventions of a cast of rehab professionals.

Before the interim payment, Sarah had been struggling with the stairs in the two-up, two-down terraced house she lived in with her parents and three siblings.

We were able to move the family into single storey rented accommodation with a large, wheelchair-friendly garden.

We then used the funds to appoint a case manager who, in turn, recommended a speech and language therapist to address Sarah’s feeding issues. An occupational therapist (OT) and a physio were also appointed.

Importantly, the therapists didn’t just help Sarah at home; they worked in conjunction with her school to ensure continuation and consistency from her therapy providers.

Eye-gaze technology was also utilised, which helped Sarah to participate more fully at school.

The OT’s work on Sarah’s manual dexterity resulted in significant improvement, enabling her to draw and write.

Then Sarah discovered two quite different passions which wouldn’t have been possible before her various therapy interventions.

Firstly, she started singing – prompting the speech and language therapist to recommend a vocal coach to work on her breathing and, therefore, improve her speech.

We appointed a specialist disability vocal coach and, before long, she was singing in disability choirs, giving herself a huge confidence boost in the process.

Sarah’s other passion, which has since taken over her life, is trampolining.

The flat garden was perfect for a new trampoline, funded by the interim payment.

What started as a fun activity out of her wheelchair became serious business. She went on to win two silver medals at her first national competition and now has a support worker with a specialist interest in disability sport.

Sarah’s intention is to bounce her way to the 2024 Paralympics in Paris – and hopes are high that she has what it takes to make the grade.

This little girl whose parents were told that she would spend most of her life in a wheelchair is confounding expectations.

She does have behavioural difficulties but her two burning passions are helping with her social integration and having a positive psychological impact generally.

Her story highlights the motivating effect of passions and interest in rehabilitation. It also shows just what is possible when you have the resources to access the right therapies at the right time.

Emma Rush is a Partner in the medical negligence team at Irwin Mitchell’s Birmingham office.

*Sarah’s name was changed for anonimity.