Lawyers for an eight-year-old boy who has been stricken by cerebral palsy since his hospital birth have settled his damages claim for £395,000 after a judge accepted that it was a sensible compromise in a case raising difficult liability issues.
The boy weighed over 14 pounds when delivered in May 2004. His legal team argued that damage to his brain was caused by a 12-minute delay in intubating him after delivery. However, this was disputed by the hospital’s managers, Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, who denied liability in the case.
Although multi-million-pound damages awards are common in cases of such serious cerebral palsy – the boy is a wheelchair-user, will require care for life and is never expected to work – his lawyers recommended the settlement to Judge Sean Spencer QC in the light of the serious litigation risks affecting the case.
Approving the compromise, the judge said: ‘It seems to me that the sum on offer in no sense represents full compensation. However, in light of the issues in the case, it probably does represent the best deal going. It is not an insignificant amount and some useful purpose would be served by the family having it.’