When a child suffers disabling injuries, it is desperately sad for all concerned – but such tragedies can also bring out the best in human nature. In a case on point, a talented nine-year-old boy received millions of pounds in compensation from the NHS to assist him in making the most of his potential.
The boy developed jaundice in his first few days of life and sustained brain damage due to a negligent delay in treating him with phototherapy. He suffers from four-limb cerebral palsy, hearing impairment and involuntary movements. His intellect was, however, mercifully spared and, with the support of his devoted parents, he has coped admirably with all challenges thrown at him. He has a remarkably cheeky smile and is a high academic achiever at his mainstream school.
After a clinical negligence claim was launched on his behalf, the NHS trust that ran the hospital where he was born swiftly admitted liability in full. A negotiated settlement was reached whereby he received a lump sum of £5,175,000. He will in addition receive index-linked, tax-free annual payments to cover the costs of his care and case management for the rest of his life.
The trust's barrister praised the flexible approach shown by the boy's parents and legal team in achieving a settlement. He said that the trust was extremely sorry for the failings in care that led to the boy's injuries and had worked hard to learn lessons from the dreadful events. All who met the boy were impressed by his talent, delightful personality and 'can do' attitude.
The High Court had no hesitation in approving a settlement that would give the boy's family the peace of mind that he would be properly supported for life. His parents, who were no doubt proud of him, would receive £73,595 of the damages total in modest recognition of the gratuitous care they have given him.