£4 Million award proves it is never too late

Posted: 23rd July 2012

Hospital SignA woman left with severe learning difficulties due to hospital mismanagement of her birth has won over £4m in compensation more than 45 years after her delivery.

The claimant requires a lifetime of care and support due to an admittedly negligent delay in her delivery in 1967. Her entitlement to compensation went unmet until her parents, now retired, read about a similar case in a magazine and contacted lawyers who issued proceedings.

The NHS authority responsible for the hospital where the claimant was born admitted liability for the brain damage she sustained and a High Court judge has now approved a damages settlement worth £4.2 million.

The claimant’s delivery on April 28, 1967 was negligently delayed by staff at the hospital maternity unit, resulting in severe oxygen starvation. She was resuscitated several minutes later but suffered catastrophic brain damage which has left her with permanent learning difficulties and requiring 24-hour care.

The claimant has a low mental age but has not let that stop her becoming a very keen artist who exhibits her work. Her parents have cared for her throughout her life.

Approving the settlement, Mrs Justice Nicola Davies praised the South East Coast Strategic Health Authority for the speed with which it admitted liability for the claimant’s injuries after proceedings were issued.

The authority’s barrister said: ‘I express in public an unreserved apology to the claimant’s parents and express profound sympathy on behalf of the authority for the injuries that befell their daughter. We acknowledge that no amount of compensation is going to turn the clock back, but we do hope that the settlement will ensure that the claimant is given financial security for the future.’

Approving the settlement, which will take the form of a lump sum and annual, index-linked and tax-free payments to cover the costs of the claimant’s future care, the judge paid tribute to the ‘love and devotion’ of the claimant’s parents.

She said to the parents: ‘It is humbling to see what you have done for your daughter and what I hope this order will do is give you some peace of mind, because this order will give Susanne financial support and stability that she needs. I hope some of this money can put towards her artistic development and I hope that, after so many years of unstinting love and devotion, it will allow you some free time too.’