‘Plucky and Delightful’ Disabled Girl Receives Millions in NHS Compensation


No matter how young they may be, qualities of courage and determination are often more evident in severely disabled people than they are in the able-bodied. That was certainly so in the case of a nine-year-old girl whose winning personality put her front and centre of her family’s life despite the catastrophic injuries with which she was born.

The girl’s disabilities were alleged to have arisen from a negligent failure to diagnose maternal sepsis prior to her delivery. The NHS trust that bore responsibility for her mother’s ante-natal care disputed liability. However, following negotiations, it agreed to pay 85 per cent of the full value of her clinical negligence claim.

That enabled a final settlement to be reached whereby the trust agreed to pay her a lump sum of £6.25 million. To cover the costs of her care, she will in addition receive index-linked payments of £220,000 a year until she reaches the age of 18. Those payments will thereafter increase to £325,000 a year and will continue for the rest of her life.

Her disabilities are at the most serious end of the scale. She has no independent mobility, her vision is impaired and she has a severe learning disability. Unable to speak, she communicates by flicking switches and by making noises and facial expressions. She was nevertheless described as a delightful and lovable child who greatly enjoys school and holidaying abroad with her family.

Approving the settlement, the High Court noted that, when seeking to put a value on serious clinical negligence claims, it is all too easy to focus on a person’s disabilities rather than positive features of their character. The girl is able to make choices of her own and, through her own pluck and determination, has achieved happiness. Her parents had acted as her advocates and ambassadors and had clearly lavished enormous care and attention on ensuring that she met her potential.

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