Judges and lawyers never cease to be amazed by the way victims and their families cope with the consequences of clinical negligence. That was certainly so in the case of a charming and determined five-year-old boy who was born facing a lifetime of acute disability but is a ray of sunshine to his family.
Despite clear signs that he was suffering distress in the womb, there was a negligent delay in his delivery which resulted in oxygen deprivation and profound disabilities. He cannot mobilise, can never be left unattended, has severe visual problems and suffers seizures. He nevertheless greatly enjoys his special school and is described by his mother a wonderful boy – courageous, determined and joyfully happy – who makes the world around him a better place.
After action was taken on the boy's behalf, the NHS trust that ran the hospital where he was born admitted liability in full and agreed to a settlement of his claim. Together with a £5.2 million lump sum, he will receive annual index-linked payments to cover the costs of his care for life. Those payments will start at £147,000 and rise in stages to £325,000 when he reaches the age of 22.
The NHS trust expressed its extreme sorrow for the failings in care that led to his injuries and said that lessons had been learned and steps taken to guard against similar tragedies in the future. The boy's mother and father had said that it was a privilege to be his parents and, in approving the settlement, the High Court had no doubt that he felt equally privileged to be their son.