Lawyers representing a ‘happy and sociable’ schoolgirl who suffered catastrophic brain injuries due to complications during her hospital birth have achieved a £4.5 million settlement of her compensation claim against the NHS. On top of a £1.9 million lump sum, the 10-year-old will receive annual, index-linked and tax-free payments to cover the costs of her care for the rest of her life.
The girl’s legal team claimed that her injuries were caused by a ‘short but acute’ period of oxygen starvation prior to her delivery and that, had she been born five minutes earlier, she would have been largely unharmed. However, Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital NHS Trust denied liability, insisting that an accelerated delivery would have made no difference to the tragic outcome.
The girl was left suffering from cerebral palsy and learning difficulties and will always need round-the-clock care. However, the Trust’s barrister paid tribute to the progress she had made due to the unstinting care she had received from her family. He commented: “No amount of money can turn back the clock but there is provision for periodical payments which will provide both her and her parents with a degree of peace of mind going forward and the Trust wishes her the very best in the future”.
In approving the settlement, which was negotiated on the basis of 70% of a full valuation of the claim, Mr Justice Stuart-Smith said that the Trust had approached the case responsibly and realistically and told the girl’s parents: “It stands out a mile, the care and devotion your daughter has received from you”.
Speaking after the hearing, the girl’s mother said: “Every parent whose child suffers a brain injury must have similar concerns: How do we get the best possible treatment to maximise their quality of life and who will look after them if there comes a time when we are no longer able to do so? We are pleased and relieved that we can be sure that there will be sufficient funds to pay for our daughter’s continuing therapies and care.”