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High Court Approves Multi-Million Pound Settlement For London Girl Left Severely Disabled Following Birth Brain Injury

Funds Will Provide Child With Specialist Lifelong Care She Requires

20.03.2019

Andrew Hewitt, Press Officer | 0114 274 4255

An eight-year-old, who suffered serious brain damage during her birth causing cerebral palsy, has received a multi-million pound settlement which will provide her with the specialist care she needs for the rest of her life.

The girl sustained a circulatory failure and collapse as a result of lack of oxygen to her brain shortly before she was born and required resuscitation.

The midwifery record of the girl’s condition in the period before birth was inconsistent with the condition at birth. If adequate monitoring had been performed, the abnormality of the girl’s heart rate would have been detected and continuous electronic heart rate monitoring commenced and delivery would have been achieved before permanent brain damage occurred.

A formal letter notifying the Trust of the claim was served in December 2015 and full liability for the girl’s brain damage was admitted a year later.

After the case was valued, the parties were able to reach agreement on the settlement terms in January 2019.

The girl, who cannot be named for legal reasons tragically suffered irreversible brain damage and has severe learning disabilities, motor problems and cannot communicate. She requires round the clock care and is fed through a tube. She requires physiotherapy, occupational therapy, speech and language therapy, adapted accommodation, aids and equipment and an adapted vehicle. Her life expectancy is significantly reduced.

Following the incident, the girl’s parents, instructed expert medical negligence lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to investigate her care under Dartford and Gravesham NHS Trust, which runs Darent Valley Hospital.

The settlement reached during negotiations between the parties is worth approximately £12 million over the girl’s lifetime. The settlement includes a lump sum of £3.7 million together with annual tax free payments of £280,000 each year from December 2019 until December 2024, rising to £297,500 each year from December 2025 until December 2028, and then to £330,000 each year from December 2029 for life. 

Irwin Mitchell’s Court of Protection team is managing the funds on the girl’s behalf to ensure that they last for the rest of his life and provide the necessary care, rehabilitation and therapies she needs for the rest of her life alongside specialist equipment. Because of her injuries she will never be able to work.

The settlement was approved by Mr Justice Spencer at the High Court on Friday, 15 March.

Expert Opinion
“We are pleased with the outcome of the High Court hearing, in particular the acknowledgement of the judge, Mr Justice Spencer, and Michael Horne QC (for the Trust) of the unstinting support and devotion of the girl’s family, which Mr Justice Spencer described as awe inspiring.

“Whilst no amount of money can ever make up for the severe and lifelong injuries the girl has suffered, the settlement reached will provide sufficient funds to provide for care, accommodation, therapies and equipment for the rest of her life.”

The girl’s parents said: “While the last few years have been extremely hard for us we try to lead as normal a life as possible. We are relieved that our daughter will have the funds she needs to provide for her needs for life but we hope that the Trust has learned from the mistakes made to prevent other families from going through what we have.”
Auriana Griffiths, Partner

Find out more about Irwin Mitchell's expertise in handling birth injury cases