Lawyers and judges never cease to be inspired by the way in which so many clinical negligence victims soldier on in the face of adversity. That was certainly so in the case of a determined young man who received eight-figure damages after a series of medical errors left him seriously disabled.
The man was in his teens when he was diagnosed with a non-cancerous cyst on his brain. He was at the time doing very well at school and was a highly talented sportsman. A number of mistakes were made in respect of two operations to drain the cyst and both had to be abandoned. The second operation resulted in a serious brain injury, probably due to the negligent use of an endoscope.
He was initially very severely disabled. However, thanks to the selfless support of his parents and his own determination, he has since made a remarkable recovery. He was described as flourishing and has achieved both academic and sporting success. That was despite suffering from partial left-sided paralysis. He also has some visual and cognitive impairment and will always require support from others.
After he launched proceedings, the NHS trust responsible for the hospital where he was treated admitted multiple failures in his care. Following negotiations, the trust agreed to settle his claim for a lump sum of £5 million, plus index-linked annual payments to cover the costs of his care for life.
Starting at £40,000 a year, those payments will rise to £90,750 a year in 2023. He has a normal life expectancy and, when he reaches the age of 65, the payments will go up again to £152,000 a year. The overall capitalised value of the settlement has been calculated at just over £13 million.
The cyst, together with a shunt, remains in place and, as a result, he will need further neurological operations in future. The trust therefore agreed that he should have the right to seek additional compensation if he develops epilepsy or if surgery worsens his condition. In approving the settlement, the High Court praised both sides and the exceptional perseverance of the man and his parents.