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Mother Struck by Anaesthetic Accident Awarded £13 Million

The bad old days of childbirth posing a grave risk to both mothers and babies are happily gone. However, as a High Court case showed, medical staff remain fallible and helping victims to cope with the often dire consequences of clinical negligence is what personal injury lawyers are there to do.

The case concerned a mother whose life was wrecked by an anaesthetic accident shortly before the birth of her longed-for first child. She was being prepared for a caesarean delivery when she was given a top-up of epidural anaesthetic. After the anaesthetist left the room to make arrangements for the operation, she became unresponsive. She suffered a cardiac arrest and a catastrophic brain injury.

Intellectually impaired and incapable of independent movement, she was only able to return home from institutional care thanks to her husband's determination. Her return to the bosom of her family has greatly improved her quality of life and she has been able to form a meaningful relationship with her son.

After action was taken on her behalf, the NHS trust that ran the relevant hospital made a full admission of liability and agreed to a settlement of her clinical negligence claim. Together with a lump sum of £6.5 million, she will receive index-linked payments of £395,000 a year to cover the costs of her care for life. The Court approved the settlement, which had an overall capitalised value of just over £13 million.