Justice for deafened youngster

Posted: 3rd April 2014

Op theatreA six-year-old boy, who was left permanently deaf by sub-standard care he received in an NHS hospital in the days after his birth, has received hundreds of thousands of pounds in compensation after his lawyers achieved a settlement of his claim.

The damage to the boy’s hearing was caused by the failure of medical staff at the Royal Berkshire Hospital to adequately investigate or treat his severe jaundice. On his behalf, his legal team sued the Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust, which admitted liability in full and issued an apology in open court.

The exact amount of the boy’s compensation was kept confidential; however, the money will be used to pay for, amongst other things, specialist equipment and educational support so that he can maximise his potential. Despite his disability, he was doing exceptionally well at school and was at the top of his class.

The Trust’s barrister said, "The Trust acknowledges that the care that he received was not of the standard that he was entitled to expect. I would like to express my sincere apologies, on behalf of the Trust, to this boy and to his family. We are very pleased that a settlement has been reached and we would like to offer all our best wishes for the future."

Approving the settlement, Judge Stephen Oliver-Jones QC said, "Money represents inadequate recompense but it is the only way the court can deal with it. I have no doubt that, with the determination he has and the care that he receives, he will be able to cope and manage his disability. With the assistance which can be provided in his educational years, he will come out of it, hopefully, with a good career ahead of him."

Speaking after the hearing, the boy’s solicitor said, "The settlement will ensure that this boy has access to the best possible support and that his disability does not prevent him from maximising his potential. This conclusion to the legal action means that his family can now look ahead and rest assured that his future needs will be met. We hope that lessons have been learned by the Trust to prevent any other babies from suffering unnecessary disabilities that have a significant impact on their lives."