It is never too early to seek legal advice if your child is born disabled. The point could not have been made clearer than by the case of an autistic teenager, whose parents only found out that an NHS hospital was to blame for his condition when they applied for a disability parking permit.
For years the boy’s parents struggled on to make his life as comfortable as possible without suspecting that he was a victim of medical negligence. However, once the truth emerged, they went to solicitors and, following a High Court case, won him the right to multi-million-pound compensation.
In the wake of his birth, hospital medics had negligently failed to notice that his blood sugar levels were catastrophically low. He was eventually given dextrose, but that came too late to save him from severe brain damage and autism. When their baby was discharged from hospital, the parents were told nothing about the risk that he may have suffered lasting injuries.
The boy was aged four when his parents applied for a blue badge so that they could park their car in disabled bays. The truth about what happened to their son was only revealed incidentally when the couple were asked for medical evidence in support of their application. They finally consulted solicitors and the NHS trust which ran the hospital subsequently admitted liability in full.
The Court ordered the trust to pay the boy’s fees at a specialist boarding school until he is 25 and, thereafter, to fund his care regime at home. Arguments that he would be better off in long-term institutional care were rejected. The final amount of his compensation had yet to be assessed but, given the extent of his disabilities, it was bound to be a high, seven-figure, sum.