Clinical negligence in the first hours and days of a newborn baby’s life can lead to a lifetime of disability. However, a case in which a six-year-old boy won eight-figure damages from the NHS shows that specialist lawyers are always there to ensure that lessons are learned and just compensation paid.
The much-wanted boy was born following a surrogate pregnancy. After his delivery, however, medical staff failed to notice that his blood sugar had fallen to dangerously low levels. By the time he was appropriately treated, he had suffered brain damage which means he is unlikely to develop mentally beyond the level of a five- or six-year-old. Despite his disabilities, he is expected to live well into his 60s and the costs of his care in the decades to come will be immense.
The boy’s family took legal advice and launched proceedings against the NHS trust that ran the hospital. A settlement of his claim was negotiated on the basis of 92.5 per cent liability. The trust agreed to pay the boy a £6.25 million lump sum, plus index-linked and tax-free annual payments to cover the costs of his care for life. Those payments will start at £91,250 a year and rise in steps to £145,000 a year when he reaches the age of 21. The settlement, which was approved by the High Court, has an overall capitalised value of about £17 million.