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Hospital in £8 million compensation payment 14 years after birth error

Mother: 'While nothing can turn the clock back, this settlement at least gives us peace of mind that our daughter’s needs will be met for the rest of her life'

24 October, 2019 — By Tom Foot

UCLH said it had reached an ‘amicable settlement’ with the child’s family

THE family of a child who will need a lifetime of treatment after a botched birth has received an £8.4million compensation payout from the NHS after a legal case which has run for more than a decade.

The girl, now 14 years old, suffered a brain injury after being “deprived of oxygen” at University College Hospital (UCLH) in 2005. The youngster was later diagnosed with cerebral palsy after her parents raised concerns to doctors about her development.

“She is the most loving and affectionate girl we could have ever wished for,” said the teenager’s mother. “All we want is to be able to provide her with the best life possible.”

The hospital trust said it had reached an “amicable settlement” with the Camden family, who cannot be named for legal reasons.

In a statement, the girl’s mother said: “When our daughter was born and then diagnosed with cerebral palsy, all our life plans went out of the window. We dedicated ourselves to helping her and taking care of her. There have been some difficult times but we are so proud of how our daughter tries not to let her disability define her. She is extremely resilient and motivated and has thus far overcome every challenge life has thrown at her.”

She added: “While nothing can turn the clock back, this settlement at least gives us peace of mind that our daughter’s needs will be met for the rest of her life.”

Lawyers acting for the family said the money would mean the girl could access specialist care and therapies for the rest of her life.

Leena Savjani, partner at Irwin Mitchell solicitors, said: “Sadly through our work we see the consequences of what families can be left to face following delays and failings in birth. While we are pleased to have secured the child this settlement, which has been carefully calculated and approved by the High Court, no amount of money can ever make up for the injuries she has suffered and the anguish her parents have endured.”

UCLH opened its modern flagship hospital in 2005 on the site of the former Middlesex Hospital in Euston Road. It is still regarded as one of the top NHS hospitals in the country and its maternity service was described as having “areas of outstanding practice” by Care Quality Commission inspectors last December.

Around 6,500 babies are delivered in the hospital every year, according to the CQC report. The birthing suites in the recently refurbished Elizabeth Garrett Anderson wing of the hospital has the latest technology, the report said.

Like all NHS trusts, UCLH pays into an insurance scheme that manages and settles negligence cases.

The liability remains with the Trust, which reported £250,000 in litigation claims for 2018/19.

A UCLH statement said: “We are sorry that an event at the birth led to prolonged partial hypoxia. “We are pleased that despite the difference in our views as to the level of care provided, we reached an amicable settlement with the family. “We hope the money will go some way towards providing for the future of this young person.”

The settlement was approved by the High Court on October 18.

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