11 September 2013
Family wins brain injury compensation
In what has been described as one of the biggest negligence claims in Northern Irish history, an unidentified girl's family have won £5 million in compensation.
Parents of the ten-year-old, who has severe cerebral palsy, sued Belfast Health and Social Care Trust after their daughter was starved of oxygen while being born at the Royal Victoria Hospital in 2002.
Officials at the medical institution had long refused to admit liability for the accident, which has left the parents needing to provide 24-hour care for the girl, according to UTV.
But just before a judge was due to hear arguments from both sides on the case, Belfast Health and Social Care Trust said that it was at fault for the incident.
This left the High Court with no other option than to sanction a large compensation package for the family, which has lost substantial income, gone through unimaginable emotional pain and spent significant amounts of money on care since the accident.
The family's case at the trial would have focused on an allegation that the midwife didn't properly maintain foetal monitoring in the later stages of the baby's delivery - something that was denied all the way up to the hours before the High Court battle.
A lawyer representing the family stated: "It's a tragedy that this had to happen because of a short period of inattention. This child could have been delivered completely healthy and these very large sums would not be necessary for her care and providing a reasonable home in the future."
However, even though the £5 million will provide a lot of help for the family, the solicitor added: "They see only too well what might have been - her personality shines through despite her disability. Her teacher describes her as a lovely girl and a joy to teach."
While natal care and midwifery is a difficult job, hospitals have a duty of care to make sure that everything possible is done to give a newborn the best chances of living a healthy life possible.
By Chris Stevenson
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