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Victim of Substandard Neonatal Care Awarded Eight-Figure Payout

Medical advances, ever-increasing life expectancies and the escalating costs of care together explain why damages awards in some clinical negligence cases may seem staggeringly large. All those factors played a part in the case of a teenage boy who received an eight-figure compensation award.

The boy was delivered very prematurely and required care in a hospital's neonatal unit. There was a failure by medical staff to test for, recognise and treat a loss of blood and oxygen circulation to his lower limbs. Both of his legs were seriously affected.

After proceedings were launched, the NHS trust that bore responsibility for his care made a swift and full admission of liability. Following negotiations, the trust agreed to settle his claim for a lump sum of £9.2 million, plus annual, index-linked payments to cover the costs of his care for life. Given that he is expected to live at least into his late 70s, the settlement had an overall capitalised value of between £18 million and £20 million.

In approving the settlement, the High Court found that it was fair, reasonable and in the boy's best interests. It will ensure that all his care needs are met and that he and his family can move to a suitably adapted home. The boy leads an active life despite his mobility difficulties, and his considerable achievements bear witness to his own determination and his family's devotion. His mother, in particular, has done far more for him than any parent would ordinarily conceive of doing for a child.

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