When children suffer injury at birth, the possibility of compensation should always be explored with their future in mind. A case on point concerned an eight-year-old girl who sustained serious damage to her left eye during her forceps delivery.
It was alleged that the damage to the affected eye’s membranes and cornea arose from the negligent use of forceps. In defending her clinical negligence claim, the NHS trust that bore responsibility for her care argued that such damage is a normal, recognised and non-negligent consequence of a minority of forceps-assisted deliveries.
Following negotiations, however, the trust agreed, without admission of liability, to settle the girl’s claim for a lump sum of £55,000. In approving the settlement, the High Court was satisfied that it was in her best interests. The money will be held in trust and paid into the Court Funds Office to be invested for her benefit until she reaches adulthood.
The Court noted that the vision in her left eye may deteriorate in middle or old age. Whilst her disability is not interfering with her education, it causes her anxiety and is, to some extent, likely to restrict her career choices in later life.