NHS Compensation Enables Severely Disabled Girl to Make Progress


Many seriously disabled clinical negligence victims can make remarkable progress with the benefit of professional care and support made possible by compensation. That was certainly so in the case of a nine-year-old girl for whom a delay in her emergency caesarean delivery spelt a lifetime of dependence on others.

After a claim was brought on her behalf, an NHS trust admitted deficiencies in the management of her mother’s labour and that, had it not been for the delay in her delivery, she would have sustained less severe brain damage. On that basis, the trust agreed to pay 85 per cent of the full value of her claim.

Following further negotiations, a final settlement was reached whereby she would receive a lump sum of £4,791,284, together with annual, six-figure, index-linked payments to cover the costs of her care and case management for life. A provisional damages award was also agreed whereby she can seek further compensation if she develops symptomatic and uncontrolled epilepsy at any point in her life.

The girl suffers from severe cerebral palsy, global developmental delay and hearing and communication difficulties. She is visually impaired, wheelchair dependent both inside and outside her home, and is fed by tube. Her life expectancy is sadly curtailed. She has difficulty sleeping and her mother was praised for the quite remarkable care and support she gives her 24 hours a day.

Approving the settlement, the High Court noted that no one could fully imagine the challenges faced and sacrifices made by her mother. Interim payments of damages had, however, funded specialist equipment and a professional care regime that had helped her daughter to make significant progress. She had, amongst other things, learned to use assisted communication technology and clearly enjoyed family holidays and trips to the beach.

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