Lawyers representing a girl whose brain was accidentally injected with glue during treatment at London’s Great Ormond Street Hospital have achieved a multi-million-pound settlement of her damages claim against the NHS.
Despite having a rare medical condition that involved arteries and veins getting tangled, Maisha Najeeb was a healthy 10-year-old until she went into hospital in June 2010. On other occasions, she had successfully received embolization treatment, which involves injecting glue to block off bleeding blood vessels and an injection of a harmless dye to check the flow of blood around the brain and head.
However, on the relevant occasion, her legal team argued that there was no adequate system in place for distinguishing between the syringes containing the glue and those containing the dye, so that they got mixed up. This resulted in glue being wrongly injected into an artery leading to Maisha’s brain, causing catastrophic and permanent brain damage.
Following negotiations between the parties, the High Court approved a settlement of Maisha’s claim by which the Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children NHS Trust agreed to pay a £2.8 million lump sum, as well as annual, index-linked and tax-free payments to cover the costs of her care for life. Those payments will come to £383,000 until Maisha is aged 19, before increasing to £423,000.
The Trust, which admitted liability for Maisha’s injuries, repeated in open court its unreserved apologies for the shortcomings in her care, which had such devastating consequences. Her family had engaged open-heartedly with the Trust, which had allowed staff to really learn from what happened to Maisha so that improvements could be made.
The Trust’s counsel said, “We cannot wind the clock back. We hope there are now systems and procedures in place to ensure such a tragic mistake cannot be made again. While money cannot restore what Maisha has lost, we are sure a great burden has been lifted from the family by coming to the settlement we have.”
One could not help but be inspired by what Maisha’s parents, Sadir Hussain and Rukshana, had achieved in terms of their 13-year-old daughter’s rehabilitation. “It is probably the most intensive cognitive rehabilitation we have ever seen by a family and we would wish to acknowledge everything they have done for Maisha and wish them well for the future,” the barrister added.
The judge extended his sympathy and admiration to the family and said that he hoped the compensation would make the rest of Maisha’s life as comfortable as possible. Outside court, Maisha’s father, of Ilford, Essex, said, “We are sad and devastated by what happened to our daughter. Her life is ruined. All her dreams have been broken. I hope that by bringing this case, lessons will have been learned to avoid this happening to other families. We are grateful that agreement has been reached with Great Ormond Street to ensure that Maisha’s care needs are met.”
The compensation will be spent on care and accommodation for Maisha, who needs assistance with all daily tasks day and night, is in a wheelchair and has lost the vast majority of her bodily and cognitive abilities. Her solicitor said, “What is so heartbreaking about this case is that the injury was so avoidable. If the syringes had been marked up so that the hospital could see which contained glue and which contained dye, then Maisha would not have suffered what is an utterly devastating brain injury. Such easily avoidable mistakes should not happen.”