Lawyers for an eight-year-old boy who was born seriously brain damaged after he was starved of oxygen in the womb have achieved a settlement of his case worth at least £5 million as well as a public apology from the NHS.
The boy, who cannot be named, is ‘grossly physically disabled’ due to hypoxia sustained in the final 20 minutes before his delivery at the King George Hospital, in Ilford, north London, in October 2004.
Although his intellect is ‘relatively spared’, the boy, who was delivered by emergency caesarean section after complications developed during his mother’s labour, has very little independent mobility and cannot communicate beyond just a few words and phrases. At birth, he was found to be ‘floppy and pale’ and required lengthy resuscitation before he could breathe spontaneously.
His oxygen starvation stemmed from a traumatic rupture of his mother’s womb. However, the boy's lawyers argued that his injuries could have been avoided had the caesarean section been performed more rapidly.
The Barking, Havering & Redbridge Hospitals NHS Trust formally apologised in court to the boy and his family after making an early admission of liability and paid tribute to the exemplary care given to the boy by his parents.
Mr Justice Cranston approved a settlement of the boy’s case under the terms of which the NHS trust will pay a lump sum of £4,250,000 as well as annual, index-linked and tax-free sums to provide for the costs of his care for as long as he lives.
‘I am very pleased the matter has been settled without the need for a trial,’ said the judge, who concluded: ‘I would like to express my best wishes for his future and to commend his parents who have dedicated themselves to his care at the expense of their own health’.