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Leeds Teenager Receives Seven Figure Settlement After Court of Appeal Victory

Specialist Medical Lawyers at Irwin Mitchell Secure £5.5m Settlement For Care, Support and Rehabilitation


The family of a Leeds teenager who suffered brain damage at birth have expressed their relief after specialist medical lawyers Irwin Mitchell successfully fought his case at the Court of Appeal to ensure he receives a £5.5m settlement to cover his ongoing care and rehabilitation.

Nathan suffered catastrophic brain damage as a result of a delay in delivery. The court accepted that the staff failed to monitor his heart rate which led to a 5 to 10 minute delay in his delivery. The delay was critical, because it caused irreversible brain damage. Following the success of the case in July 2011, the NHS Trust appealed.

Birmingham Women’s Hospitals NHS Trust had appealed an earlier High Court judgement which awarded Nathan Popple the seven-figure settlement in December 2011, but lawyers at Irwin Mitchell representing the family were successful in fighting the appeal, the Court of Appeal dismissed all the grounds raised by the Defendants and have today upheld the Judgement.

Nathan Popple, now 15, lives with his sister Jade, mum Beryl Sanderson and her partner, Sarah in Cookridge, Leeds. He developed cerebral palsy and severe disabilities after his brain was starved of oxygen during his traumatic birth in 1997.

The disabilities severely affected his mobility and speech and he now has to use a wheelchair and is fed by a gastronomy tube. Fortunately the injury did not damage his intelligence and therefore with the support of his family, carers, communication aids, therapeutic support and equipment he is able to fully access school and hopes to go to university.

After a nine day trial at the High Court in October 2011, the judge originally ruled that Nathan’s condition could have been avoided after hearing that three midwives and one trainee were attending his mother, Beryl Sanderson, but failed to notice his heart rate had reduced. Had it been monitored correctly and Nathan delivered just five to ten minutes earlier, he would not have suffered a brain injury.

The Trust said that they believed his injuries during birth occurred prior to his mother being admitted to hospital, but the Court of Appeal was satisfied that the original judgement could not be faulted and dismissed the hospital’s appeal.

The settlement of £5.5m, previously approved in December 2011, will now still stand following his court victory. The funds will be managed by Irwin Mitchell’s expert Court of Protection team and will help pay for the care and support he needs to live as independently as possible for the rest of his life including specialist equipment and adaptations to his home to help him get around.

Rachelle Mahapatra, a medical law specialist at Irwin Mitchell representing the family, said: “The family are so relieved at the latest judgement which means they can now finally begin to move on with their lives, safe in the knowledge that the settlement will help provide Nathan with the care, equipment and rehabilitation he needs for the rest of his life.

“Earlier this year Nathan set out his mission to make Leeds more accessible to wheelchair users by setting up a website rating how wheelchair friendly places are in the city.”

Nathan, who speaks and types through a computer operated by a foot pedal on his chair, said: “I just want to get on with my life and now that we have won our court battle we know that I can get specialist equipment and care for the rest of my life. I want to go to university and I like seeing friends and playing on the computer like anyone else.

 “I think everything should be fair and don’t like to be treated differently just because I use a wheelchair. I want everyone to have the same chances in life.”