Anaesthetised teenager disabled for life

Posted: 28th July 2014

TheatreA 13-year-old girl who was left disabled for life after her heart stopped while she was being sedated for an operation at a Newcastle hospital has won multi-million pound damages to fund the care she will need for the rest of her life.

The girl sustained devastating brain damage when she suffered a cardiac arrest while being anaesthetised for a bowel operation at the Royal Victoria Infirmary. She was left with disabilities which affect almost every aspect of her day-to-day life, including eating and washing, and which mean she is unlikely ever to work.

Her lawyers alleged that there had been a failure by medics to recognise that she was suffering from a complication arising from chemotherapy for leukaemia. That led to her suffering septic shock, caused by bacterial penetration of the gut wall, which then triggered her pre-operative collapse.

Following negotiations, the Newcastle-upon-Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust agreed to pay compensation on the basis of 80 per cent liability. The High Court approved the deal by which the girl will receive a £1.5 million lump sum, plus index-linked and tax-free annual payments to cover her care costs. Those payments would start at £35,000 before rising to £72,000 when she reached the age of 18.