Teaching hospital was negligent

Posted: 4th October 2013

Emergency roomThe son of a leading Oxbridge scientist who suffered catastrophic brain damage due to a medical blunder during his traumatic birth at a London teaching hospital has won a multi-million-pound compensation package from the NHS. The pay-out will take the form of a £3 million lump sum and annual, index-linked and tax-free payments to cover the costs of the seven-year-old boy’s care for the rest of his life.

The boy suffered a fractured skull during efforts by medics to free his head after it became ‘absolutely stuck’ in his mother’s pelvis during her 30-hour labour. As a result of what a judge subsequently found to be ‘excessive, unnecessary and dangerous’ pressure applied to the baby’s head, there was a shearing of blood vessels within his brain which led to circulatory collapse after his birth.

On his behalf, the boy’s lawyers sued Homerton University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust which was subsequently found liable to compensate him for his injuries. It was agreed that the boy would require 24-hour care for life and the Trust consented to a settlement comprising a £3,040,000 lump sum and periodical payments which would start at £100,000-a-year, before rising by increments to £225,000-a-year when he reaches the age of 20.

The Trust’s QC said: "Before this day passes I would like on the defendant’s behalf to say that we are delighted that this case has been compromised. This boy has very serious injuries but he has been assisted by wonderful parents. He is lucky to have them and them him. They have and will continue to play a vital part in his life and help him to maximise his potential and achievements. We wish the very best in the future to all of them."

Approving the settlement, the judge described it was ‘a very sad case’ and also paid tribute to the boy’s parents, saying: "The care and attention they have provided to their son must have been a terrible burden, much as they love their child. It seems very clear to me that this case received the most careful attention and I am satisfied that the settlement that has been obtained is the best that could be reasonably hoped for."

The boy’s solicitor said outside court: “No amount of money can ever give this boy the life he would have had if he had not suffered such serious injuries at the time of his birth. However, now a settlement has been agreed, he can be provided with care, equipment and therapies to maximise his potential."