Disabled teenager wins £5m compensation from NHS

The James Paget University Hospital at Gorleston. Picture: James Bass

The James Paget University Hospital at Gorleston. Picture: James Bass - Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2011

A boy who suffered severe brain damage during his birth has won £5 million in compensation from the NHS.

Now a teenager with cerebral palsy, he is so gravely disabled that even that figure will not be enough to cover the costs of his care for life, High Court Judge Barry Cotter QC said.

The boy's legal team sued the James Paget University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, alleging his delivery was negligently delayed.

The High Court heard the teen, who cannot be named for legal reasons, is almost immobile and cannot feed himself.

He can communicate only by moving his eyes and flicking switches, Judge Cotter said.

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The trust denied blame, but agreed to compensate the teenager on a 50/50 liability basis in 2014.

Judge Cotter approved a final settlement of his case today, which he said equated to just under £5 million.

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It will take the form of a £2.25m lump sum, plus annual, index-linked and tax free payments to cover at least some of his care costs.

Those payments will start at £95,000-a-year, and will go up from there, but will not be 'remotely' enough to cover his lifetime needs, said the judge.

Judge Cotter added the boy's family would still be 'under very considerable strain' and would have to make up the 'very considerable' shortfall from other sources.

But the settlement would at least give the boy and his parents 'peace of mind and stability' and the judge said he hoped that would be a comfort to them.

Paying tribute to the family, the judge said: 'I can only stand back and admire what they have done'. Approving the settlement, he concluded: 'I have no shadow of a doubt the most careful consideration has been given to all the issues'.

The Paget's director of governance Anna Hills said: 'We are aware that the High Court has approved a settlement agreed between the family of the claimant and the James Paget University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. The trust is pleased the claim has been resolved and hopes the award of compensation will go some way towards helping the claimant meet his future needs.'

The hospital is a member of the NHS Litigation Authority so the compensation will be paid by them, rather than come from the hospital's own budget.

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