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Boy Injured in Aftermath of Birth Receives Multi-Million-Pound Recompense

In an organisation as vast as the NHS mistakes are inevitably made. A judge made that observation in the case of an eight-year-old boy who suffered a catastrophic brain injury in the aftermath of his birth.

The boy sustained a fractured skull during his delivery, but there was no criticism of his and his mother's obstetric care. However, subsequent to his birth, there was an alleged delay of nine hours in treating a subdural haemorrhage. The NHS trust that bore responsibility for his care accepted that there was a culpable delay of three hours but denied that it made any difference to the outcome.

After the boy's parents took legal action, however, the trust agreed to pay 77 per cent of the full value of his claim without making any admission of liability. Further negotiations yielded a final settlement whereby the boy will receive a lump sum of £7.75 million together with index-linked annual payments to cover the costs of his care for life. Those payments will start at £185,000 a year before rising to £245,000 a year when he reaches the age of 19.

In approving the settlement, the judge observed that, since its creation, the NHS had made an enormous contribution to public welfare. In such a huge organisation, however, there was always the potential for things to go wrong. The boy, who has very extensive lifelong care needs and an estimated life expectancy of 68, has the inestimable advantage of parents who have looked after him with unstinting devotion, commitment and resilience.

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