Victim of Herpes Simplex Virus Awarded Millions in Damages

A young man who sustained catastrophic brain damage after contracting the herpes simplex virus when he was a baby is set to receive a multi-million-pound settlement of his clinical negligence claim.

The man, in his 20s, was a few months old when the virus crossed the blood-brain barrier, causing encephalitis. It was alleged that there was a negligent failure to promptly diagnose and treat the infection. The NHS trust that bore responsibility for his care admitted breach of duty but contended that it would have made little or no difference had he been treated earlier with an antiviral drug.

However, a contested trial proved unnecessary after the trust agreed to pay 70 per cent of the full value of the man's claim. A final settlement was thereafter reached whereby he will receive a lump sum of £5,150,000, together with index-linked payments of £305,000 a year towards the costs of his care for life.

Approving the settlement, the court praised the man's family for their great love and devotion in meeting the almost unimaginable challenge of caring for him. No amount of money could compensate for such a dreadful injury, but the settlement means that his financial future is secure and that he will be treated with dignity. The court hoped that his loved ones felt that justice had been obtained.