Despite the best efforts of the NHS, it is inevitable that medical mistakes are sometimes made and, when they are, it is important to ensure that victims are fairly compensated. One such case, brought on behalf of a nine-year-old boy left gravely disabled owing to clinical negligence in the days following his birth, has resulted in a multi-million-pound damages award.
The boy was born suffering from Rhesus disease, a condition where antibodies in a pregnant woman's blood destroy her baby's blood cells. Medical staff, however, failed to diagnose the condition during the neonatal period and he was stricken by acute jaundice, which ultimately caused brain damage.
He can only get around by bunny-hopping on his knees and can communicate with his loved ones only by making noises. Despite his disabilities, however, he is a cheerful and sociable child who is a great joy to his mother and who has made good progress thanks to the care that she and other family members have lavished on him.
After the family brought a claim for compensation, the NHS trust that ran the hospital concerned swiftly admitted breach of duty. Following negotiations, a settlement of the claim was agreed, whereby the boy will receive a £6.75 million lump sum, together with index-linked and tax-free payments of £295,000 a year to cover the costs of his care for as long as he lives. The High Court approved the settlement.