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Hard Negotiations Yield £1 Million Award for Disabled 11-Year-Old

Expert personal injury lawyers are capable of negotiating substantial compensation for their clients, even in the most difficult cases. That was certainly so in the case of an 11-year-old girl who was starved of oxygen in the minutes before and after her emergency caesarean delivery.

The girl suffered a period of acute, profound hypoxia before she was resuscitated about four minutes after her birth. Severely physically and cognitively disabled, she has no useful limb function and has the intellectual abilities of a young school-age child. She requires 24-hour care and, although currently in good health, her life expectancy is estimated to the age of 36.

A period of about 20 minutes elapsed between deceleration in the foetal heartbeat being observed by midwives and the girl's delivery. It was argued that it took too long to transfer her mother to a surgical unit. The relevant NHS trust, however, asserted that the timings involved fell comfortably within acceptable parameters. It also denied that any criticised period of delay had caused or contributed to the girl's disabilities.

Despite the trust's firm denial of liability, a £1 million settlement of the girl's claim was negotiated. In approving the compromise reached, the court found that it represented a very good result for the girl. Had her case proceeded to trial, there would have been a high risk of her claim failing altogether. The court agreed that £55,000 of the settlement sum should be paid to the girl's parents as some reflection of the devoted care they have given her.