£9m compensation after little girl twice sent home from Peterborough hospital A&E has legs amputated

Peterborough City Hospital
Peterborough City Hospital

The NHS will pay £9 million compensation to a little girl who had both legs amputated after twice being sent home from Peterborough City Hospital’s A&E with a dangerous infection.

The girl, then just nine months old, lost both limbs after the streptococcus bug developed into septicaemia, the High Court heard.

Her anxious parents initially took her to the GP in 2006 after she “developed feverish symptoms,” said Mr Justice Foskett.

They later took her twice to A&E at Peterborough District Hospital, but she was sent home both times, he added.

And, by the time the bacterial infection was treated, septicaemia had set it in and it was too late to save her from double amputation.

The family’s lawyers sued Peterborough & Stamford Hospital NHS Foundation Trust - which has since become part of the North West Anglia NHS Foundation Trust - which admitted liability for her injuries.

And today the trust’s barrister, Martin Porter QC, agreed to a full and final settlement of the youngster’s case.

He apologised on the trust’s behalf for the “failures of care that took place” and expressed “admiration” for the way the girl has coped with her disabilities.

As well as a £4.7 million lump sum, she will receive annual, index-linked and tax-free payments to cover the costs of her care for life.

Those payments will start at £40,500 a year, but will rise in stages to £79,000 a year by the time she is 68.

Her counsel, Bill Braithwaite QC, said the overall capitalised value of the settlement is £9 million.

Approving the payout, the judge said the double amputation would have “devastating consequences” throughout the girl’s life.

Although she had made the most of things, and her life expectancy was almost unaffected, she was likely to need a wheelchair in her later years.

The trust had “admitted liability some years ago,” but the final settlement had only been agreed following “difficult and protracted negotiations”.

He paid tribute to the girl’s courage in coming to terms with her disabilities and to her parents for all the care they had given her.

“It has not been easy, and I am sure that there will be difficult times ahead... but I wish you all the very best for the future,” he concluded.

The girl cannot be identified for legal reasons.

Dr Kanchan Rege, medical director at North West Anglia NHS Foundation Trust, which runs Peterborough City, Hinchingbrooke and Stamford and Rutland Hospitals, said: “I can confirm that the trust has agreed a court settlement for a long-running case involving a child who was cared for at Peterborough District Hospital in 2006.

“The care received was investigated in detail, but in order to protect patient confidentiality we cannot provide further information about this case.”