The devoted care given to disabled children by their parents is often humbling, but where the disability is the result of a medical blunder, the right legal advice can help the injured person achieve the best quality of life possible and make life easier for that person's family. In one case, a mother looked after her gravely disabled daughter almost single-handedly for many years before taking legal advice, following which a seven-figure compensation payout was negotiated with the NHS.
The girl had suffered serious brain damage after hypoglycaemia went undiagnosed and untreated in the wake of her hospital birth. Acting on the legal advice she received, the 15-year-old's mother brought a personal injury claim on her behalf on the ground that she would have been entirely uninjured had medical staff noticed her dangerously low blood sugar levels in time and given her dextrose or sugar-rich formula.
The girl requires around-the-clock care, which was selflessly provided by her mother for more than a decade before she consulted solicitors. Thereafter, the NHS trust that ran the hospital where she was born admitted liability and speedily consented to a settlement of her claim.
The trust agreed to pay the teenager a £3.6 million lump sum, plus index-linked and tax-free annual payments to cover the costs of her care for life. Those payments will start at £230,000 a year, before rising to £270,000 a year on her 18th birthday. In approving the settlement, the High Court noted that the mother had abandoned her professional career to look after her daughter and had over the years developed skills equivalent to those of a paediatric nurse.