Boy wins £17 million NHS payout after negligence at Stevenage’s Lister Hospital causes brain damage
PUBLISHED: 08:30 03 March 2020
A nine-year-old boy has won a £17 million payout from the NHS after medics at Stevenage’s Lister Hospital caused permanent brain damage by effectively starving him.
Hospital staff "failed to ensure he received adequate nutrition" after his birth at Lister, London's High Court heard.
As a result, his blood sugar levels fell dangerously low and he suffered irreversible brain damage.
The boy, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, can do nothing for himself and will always need 24-hour care, Judge Sir Robert Francis QC was told.
The East and North Herts NHS Trust has admitted liability for his injuries and has agreed to a settlement of damages.
Together with a £5.9 million lump sum, he will receive index-linked annual payments to cover the costs of his care for life.
They will start at £147,500 a year, before going up to £200,000 a year when he is 11. When he is 19, they will rise to £299,000 a year.
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The total value of the settlement over his expected lifespan is about £17 million.
Judge Francis commented on the size of the payout, but the boy's barrister, Robert Glancy QC, replied: "Sadly, that is the cost of care regimes nowadays."
The boy suffers from body-wide cerebral palsy, severe visual impairment and epileptic seizures which sometimes strike more than once a day.
Although he can sit up, he has no independent mobility and his sleep is frequently disturbed.
Mr Glancy added: "He can tell light from dark and can recognise his parents... he laughs and smiles if he is happy."
His parents have devoted themselves to his care "without any complaint, without any sense of grievance or bitterness," said Mr Glancy.
Their son was "born intact" and would probably have suffered no injury had medics ensured he received the nutrition he needed. But Mr Glancy said: "His parents haven't shown any hint of anger or bitterness against the NHS."
The judge had no hesitation in approving the settlement and expressed his admiration for the boy's parents.
A spokesman for the NHS trust said: "We are sorry. We know nothing can ever compensate for the injury he sustained, but are pleased the court has approved this settlement and hope this will help greatly with the support he will need throughout his life."