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£19M for 9yr old girl – brain injury

A 9 year old girl born with severe jaundice has been awarded a record payment for brain injury.

It was argued that there had been negligence in the delay in giving this child a total blood transfusion. She had severe jaundice.

Medical negligence lawyers argued that permanent injury would have been avoided.

As a result of the failings, or “shortcomings” as the NHS is reported to have accepted, the young girl suffered severe behavioural difficulties.  She is reported to have insight into her condition and is expected to have a long life.

Care will be needed for the rest of her life.

All of these factors will have contributed to the size of the award of damages.

When approving the payout, Sir Robert Francis said :

“This is very near to the top end of the scale for a brain injury”. 

Clinical and medical negligence in managing events shortly after the birth of a baby can result in devastating injuries to both the mother and baby.

This is still an all too common story. And, the results are tragic and life changing for the child and for the parents.

It is reported that the NHS Trust admitted only 85% of the alleged failings and that if the final judgement had been for 100% the award would have topped £22m.

The award will be split into providing an initial lump sum followed by periodic payments for life to cover care and treatment needs.

Melanie Lidstone-Land, Head of Clinical Negligence at Swain & Co says:

“This may seem like a huge sum of money but the reality is that when damage occurs at this level of severity the cost of ongoing treatment is extremely expensive and is, of course, beyond that which can and should be expected of a parent or family member to deliver.  No amount of money can ever “compensate” for what happens when these mistakes are made but it can and should be provided to ensure that all care required is available to the victims of medical mistakes.”

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