£2.9m award for teenager

PUBLISHED: 12:19 04 May 2006 | UPDATED: 10:06 06 May 2010

A TEENAGER was awarded £2.9m this week after suffering acute brain damage during birth over 13 years ago. Christopher Maher, from Stevenage, suffered severe cerebral palsy during his delivery at Lister Hospital in August 1992 after his brain became increa

A TEENAGER was awarded £2.9m this week after suffering acute brain damage during birth over 13 years ago.

Christopher Maher, from Stevenage, suffered severe cerebral palsy during his delivery at Lister Hospital in August 1992 after his brain became increasingly starved of oxygen while in the womb.

He was delivered "profoundly asphyxiated" and without any noticeable heart beat, although his heart kicked into life two minutes after birth.

A CT scan later demonstrated a weakening of part of his brain and revealed devastating absence of vision, according to court documents.

Christopher, through his mother Lynsey Maher, sought damages from the East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust which admitted breach of duty but disputed the extent to which his injuries could be blamed on a delay in his delivery.

On Tuesday he was awarded the money at London's High Court where his barrister Alan Saggerson said a settlement had been reached.

Mr Saggerson said a "full valuation" of the claim would have come to around £3.3m but a reduction had been agreed to reflect the "risks of litigation".

He said the claim was brought over the alleged "negligent mismanagement of his delivery and birth", which resulted in his severe cerebral palsy.

The case reached the High Court where Mrs Justice Cox approved the amount "without hesitation" and wished Christopher and his family "well for the future".

The judge said she has no doubt that Christopher's problems had a "profound impact on the whole family", but commended his parents and family, including two brothers, for their devoted attention to him over the years.

David Evans, the NHS Trust's barrister, said he was pleased the parties had come to terms.

The Trust yesterday issued a statement declaring that in a letter to Christopher's parents, the Trust's chief executive, Nick Carver, had said: "I wish to express my sincere apologies to you and Christopher for the shortcomings in the management of your labour.

"Had more timely management taken place, Christopher could have been born at an earlier time. We are all very sorry indeed that the outcome for you was not as any of us would have wished.

"In expressing our apologies and regret, I do so on behalf of the Lister Hospital, and in particular those members of staff involved in your care.


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