The family of a child who was left with brain damage after medical staff at an east London hospital failed to explain the importance of feeding a newborn have won a High Court claim.

Nilujan Rajatheepan was in good condition when he was delivered by caesarean section at King George Hospital in Goodmayes in July 2009.

His parents are Tamil refugees from Sri Lanka and his mother, Sinthiya, was 21 when Nilujan was born and spoke only very few words of English.

When the community midwife visited the family at home following the birth, the baby was pale and lethargic, having not been fed for more than 15 hours.

His hypoglycemic state resulted in catastrophic brain injuries and Niluian, now eight, has cerebral palsy with severely impaired physical and cognitive function.

At the High Court in central London on Friday, Judge McKenna ruled that Barking, Havering and Redbridge NHS Foundation Trust (BHRUHT) was liable for the trauma.

He said the “sad reality” was Mrs Rajatheepan did not receive instruction from hospital staff on how to feed properly or what to do if feeding was unsuccessful.

No one had ever given her a clear explanation of the importance of feeding, or how she should respond if she had concerns, the judge ruled.

He found that because of the language barrier, the new mother was unable to communicate her concerns to hospital staff and when they were communicated by a friend, they were not acted upon.

If the baby, who had been crying continuously, had been reviewed when Mrs Rajatheepan was collected from the hospital, mother and child would have been kept in overnight, the judge said.

He deemed that if this step had been taken, the difficulties with feeding would have become apparent and his injuries would have been avoided.

Judge McKenna said that by “repeating the mantra” that it was normal for newborn babies to cry without investigating the parents’ concerns have them “false reassurance”.

He said this meant it was unsurprising they did not later contact the hospital as Niluian’s condition began to worsen.

Damages will be assessed at a later date if not agreed.

Wendy Matthews, BHRUHT director of midwifery, said: “We would like to say sorry again to Nilujan and the Rajatheepan family and express our sincere sympathies to them.

“We are considering the judgment and the implications of the judge’s ruling in this case.

“Although we have made huge improvements since this incident occurred in 2009, we will take the opportunity to review it closely and see if there are any more lessons about our post-natal care that we can learn.”