There can be nothing crueller than injuries suffered by a baby during or soon after birth – but compensation can at least ensure that their care needs are met for life. In a case on point, a little boy who fell victim to meningitis within hours of his delivery obtained multi-million-pound compensation from the NHS.
Medical staff at the hospital where the boy, now nine, was born failed to treat the potentially fatal infection quickly enough with antibiotics. As a result, damage to his brain left him suffering from cerebral palsy affecting all four limbs. Although capable of operating a switch with one hand, he relies on others for all his care needs and functions mentally at the level of a much younger child.
Following extensive negotiations, the NHS trust that managed the hospital admitted liability in full for his injuries and agreed to a settlement of his claim. Together with a £3.4 million lump sum, he will receive annual, index-linked and tax-free payments to cover the costs of his care for life. Those payments will start at £230,000 a year, rising to £305,000 a year when he reaches the age of 19.
In approving the settlement, a judge said that family photographs of the youngster showed him to be a wonderful little boy with an infectious smile. Although it was extraordinarily cruel that he had suffered such a devastating injury, he was much loved by all his family and his parents had borne the tragedy with extraordinary fortitude.