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Gravely Disabled Football Fan Receives Multi-Million-Pound Damages

Financial settlements in the most serious personal injury and clinical negligence cases are subject to anxious judicial scrutiny. That was certainly so in the case of a teenage football fan who received a settlement in respect of a catastrophic brain injury he had sustained whilst undergoing urgent medical treatment at Great Ormond Street Hospital.

The boy was aged three when he suffered the hypoxic injury, which all agreed was of maximum severity. He has no independent mobility or use of his arms. However, he has mathematical ability and enjoys TV cartoons and Harry Potter books. He has a particular passion for football, getting excited when his favourite team scores.

Following negotiations, Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children NHS Foundation Trust agreed to settle his clinical negligence claim for 95 per cent of its full value. On that basis, he will receive a lump sum of £6,995,229, together with six-figure, index-linked annual payments to cover the costs of his care for life. As he is both a child and a protected party, however, judicial approval was required before the settlement could be finalised.

Granting the approval sought, the High Court noted that its role was to act as an independent check to ensure that the settlement was in the boy's best interests. After reading his barrister's impressive and comprehensive advice, it had no hesitation in finding that it was. To further protect the boy's welfare, the Court ordered that he must not be identified in reports of the case.

The Court paid tribute to the boy's parents for the way they had coped with the tremendous strain of tending to his every need. No amount of money could turn the clock back but the case served as a reminder of how fragile and precious human life is and how the love of a parent for a child survives almost unimaginable adversity.