Birth Injuries Compensation Helps Disabled Children to Meet Their Potential


Monetary compensation can never take away the unquantifiable heartbreak involved when a child suffers serious injuries at the very beginning of their life. As a High Court ruling showed, however, what it can do is provide high levels of care and support, enabling young clinical negligence victims to enjoy full lives and meet their potential.

The case concerned a teenage boy who had a low birth weight but was otherwise in good health on delivery. Over the hours that followed, however, his blood sugar levels dropped and he sustained permanent brain damage. Living with epilepsy that cannot be reliably controlled, he has learning, behavioural and social difficulties that make his care and safe management highly challenging.

After a clinical negligence claim was instigated, the NHS trust that ran the hospital where he was born admitted liability. It conceded that inadequate steps were taken post-delivery to ensure he was feeding properly, and that there was a delay in taking a blood sugar reading.

Following negotiations, a final settlement of his claim was agreed whereby he would receive a £9.3 million lump sum, together with annual, index-linked payments to cover the costs of his care and case management for life. Starting at £190,000 a year, those payments will rise to £238,000 a year when he is 19.

Approving the settlement, the High Court noted that his self-esteem, confidence and mental health had suffered due to his awareness that he is different from his peers. He is nevertheless undaunted and is enthusiastic about supercars and spicy food. His disabilities placed a tremendous strain on his mother, who had sacrificed her career to look after him. The progress he had made was a testament to her years of devotion and her great love for him.

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