A seven-year-old girl left severely disabled, dependent on a wheelchair and unable to speak, after medical blunders at Hinchingbrooke Hospital in Huntingdon today won a multi-million-pound damages payout from the NHS.
The girl, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, suffered oxygen starvation and permanent brain damage during her birth at the hospital, in 2008.
An award of damages of this kind cannot alter the sad events which took place some seven years ago.Mr Justice Holgate
As a result of admitted medical negligence, the little girl was left with acute cerebral palsy and will need 24-hour care, seven days a week, throughout her life.
Hinchingbrooke Health Care NHS Trust admitted liability at an early stage and today agreed to a huge compensation package at London’s High Court.
Mr Justice Holgate approved the deal, which is worth several million pounds.
It will take the form of a substantial lump sum, plus index-linked and tax-free annual payments for the rest of her life.
Those payments will cover ongoing care and case management, loss of earnings and other annual costs such as occupational therapy.
Her barrister, Christopher Gibson QC, said: “I would wish to pay my own very small tribute to her family who have done their absolute best to give her as normal and as happy a childhood as possible and the best chance of as fulfilling a life as possible in the future.”
For the NHS Trust, barrister, Sarah Vaughan Jones QC, apologised in open court to the family and expressed the trust’s ‘regret at the failure of care’.
The judge described it as a ‘very sad case’, although the court heard the girl is making ‘good progress at school’.
Her parents will also receive more than £70,000 as some recognition of the care they have lavished on their daughter since her birth.
Mr Justice Holgate said: “I am satisfied that this is an order that the court should approve, and I do so.
“I should not conclude this judgement without expressing my admiration for the way in which the family has coped with these tragic circumstances.
“An award of damages of this kind cannot alter the sad events which took place some seven years ago.
“At best, the damages can only attempt to provide for future needs on a proper basis; I am satisfied that is what they do.”
The exact terms of the settlement were kept confidential, but lawyers confirmed outside court that the girl will receive “several million” pounds over her lifetime.