The High Court has today – Monday 3 December 2018 – approved a £23m compensation settlement for a 10-year-old boy who suffered brain damage at birth as a result of medical negligence.
AC, whose identity is protected under an anonymity order, developed cerebral palsy after hospital staff missed signs of distress during his mother’s labour in 2008. Investigations revealed that neither the consultant obstetrician nor the midwife at St George’s Hospital in Tooting, London, were paying attention to the CTG trace, which recorded the pattern of AC’s heartbeat. As the trace deteriorated there was a delay in the delivery, which meant AC was deprived of oxygen for the 15 minutes before he was born.
His injuries have left AC with significant behavioural problems, special educational needs and impaired movement patterns. He is incontinent at night, has difficulties with communication and poor social awareness. Although he is an affectionate and engaging boy, he will always be at risk and will need support throughout his life.
In November, AC’s lawyers, Express Solicitors, agreed a compensation package consisting of a lump sum payment of £5.3 million to help buy and adapt safe, accessible accommodation, compensate him for the fact he will never have a job, and pay for his therapy costs. In addition, AC will receive index linked annual payments of up to £200,000 to pay for a team of carers for the rest of his life.
The overall value of the settlement is a little over £23 million, thought to be one of the three highest awards ever reported in an injury claim.
AC’s father MC has had a 10-year legal fight to secure his son’s future. He said: “Every pound of this settlement is planned and accounted for in equipment and therapy costs. The money means my son has a secure future. To anyone who thinks it is a windfall, I can tell them I would give back every penny tomorrow to have the boy he could have become.”
The solicitor acting on the case was Bent Gent, Head of Clinical Negligence at Express Solicitors. He said: “The financial and emotional consequences of this negligent obstetric care are immense and will endure for decades into the future, and this money will ensure AC is taken care of properly in years to come.
“Patient care can only improve when mistakes are acknowledged and investigated openly and independently. The political trend to see access to justice as an expensive luxury undermines patient safety and makes this kind of tragedy more likely to happen again.”