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Norfolk hospital to pay child millions in damages after errors during birth left her ‘profoundly disabled’

PUBLISHED: 07:55 09 November 2017 | UPDATED: 14:32 09 November 2017

The Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital. Picture: Jeremy Durkin

The Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital. Picture: Jeremy Durkin

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A seven-year-old girl who was left profoundly disabled due to errors when she was born at a Norfolk hospital will receive millions in NHS damages.

The girl was born at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital in 2010 and was left with cerebral palsy after her brain was starved of oxygen during her birth.

She is now unable to walk, has hearing and sight difficulties, is tube-fed and has a shortened life expectancy.

Her mother sued the hospital for damages and, having admitted liabilities, it has agreed to pay a lump sum of £2.5m and index-linked annual payments to cover the costs of care throughout her life.

Those payments will start at £125,000 a year between the ages of seven and 10, and will rise to £165,000 a year from 11 to 19 and £240,000 a year from 19 onwards.

Judge Neil Bidder QC told London’s High Court that the girl’s mother suffered from a medical condition, which had not properly been taken into account when she became pregnant.

“Substantial complications arose during the latter stages of her pregnancy and in her labour,” he said.

He said the girl was now “profoundly disabled” with “injuries of the utmost severity”.

Edward Bishop QC, for the girl, told the court that the girl’s injuries were caused by the hospital’s “failure to respond quickly enough to abnormalities on the CTG trace”.

The hospital admitted that “if proper attention had been to this then they would and should have reacted more quickly”.

It would have led to the girl being delivered earlier and being saved from brain injury, the court heard.

Sarah Vaughan-Jones QC, for the hospital, issued an “apology for the failures of care that there were in this case”.

Judge Bidder said: “I am sure that it is in the best interests of the child that it should be accepted.

“Her mother has given her wonderful care, but she needs a huge amount of help as well.

“I pay tribute to the tremendous dedicated care of the mother, and indeed the support given by her father as well.”

A spokesperson for the hospital said: “The High Court has approved the settlement of a claim brought on behalf of a young patient against the Trust. The girl was delivered at the trust in 2010 and sadly suffered injury at birth.

“This claim was investigated in detail by the trust and an admission of liability was made.

“We have absolutely apologised for the circumstances which caused this patient to be injured and we are very sorry for the resulting tragic consequences.

“We are pleased the claim has been resolved and that an appropriate compensation package has been agreed.”

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