£10 million birth injuries settlement
Posted: 21st November 2013
Lawyers representing a nine-year-old boy who was left catastrophically disabled due to oxygen starvation at birth have achieved a £10 million settlement of his case in what is one of the biggest every payouts by the NHS in a clinical negligence case.
Aaron Crosby was left unable to speak or use his arms and legs due to devastating brain damage suffered in the final minutes of his mother's labour at Lincoln County Hospital in 2004. A victim of athetoid cerebral palsy, he is wheelchair dependent and will require 24-hour care and assistance for the rest of his life.
His mother, Rebecca, 38, launched a damages claim on Aaron's behalf to cover the enormous costs of his care. Following negotiations, the United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust issued an apology in open court and agreed to a settlement, which it is estimated will be worth £10 million over Aaron’s lifetime.
The settlement consists of a £3.25 million lump sum plus annual index-linked and tax-free payments, rising by increments to more than £200,000 a year. Approving the deal, Judge Phillip Sycamore QC paid glowing tribute to the ‘tremendous’ care provided to Aaron by Mrs Crosby and his father, David. "I have a very clear picture of the warm, loving environment in which Aaron is brought up. He clearly is a lucky boy to have such loving and supportive parents," he said.
The family’s lawyers argued that Mrs Crosby had, during her labour, been given too much of a drug designed to stimulate contractions, causing uterine hypertension. For the final 35 minutes prior to delivery, medical staff had also ‘lost contact’ with the machine that should have been monitoring the foetal heart rate.
The NHS Trust’s barrister said: "Obviously, the trust is extremely sorry for the way in which matters were handled and apologises both to Aaron and to his parents." The family’s legal team described it as a ‘harrowing’ case and confirmed that the money will all be needed to fund Aaron’s around-the-clock care, a specially adapted home and transport, as well as a variety of equipment, aid and therapies.
A spokesman for Aaron said, “The family now hope that lessons have been learned from this case and the same mistakes can be avoided in future. They sincerely wish that no other families face the same nightmare they have endured. Families like the Crosbys rightly deserve both justice and compensation for the terrible ordeal they have suffered and enormous costs of care they face”.