Childbirth is a happy event but, if things go wrong and your child is left disabled, you should seek legal advice right away. In a recent case, an 11-year-old girl who was struck blind due to clinical negligence following her premature birth won the right to substantial compensation from the NHS.
Following her delivery, the girl suffered from a form of retinopathy that is well known to affect some premature babies. The fast-developing condition could have been effectively treated by early use of laser therapy on the immature retina. Diagnosis and treatment were, however, delayed and she was left blind in both eyes.
After proceedings were launched on the girl's behalf, the NHS trust that ran the relevant hospital accepted that, from a specified date onwards, that delay was negligent. The High Court approved that concession of partial liability as a sensible compromise in a very difficult case. The amount of the girl's compensation has yet to be assessed, but is bound to be substantial.