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Family receives £4m compensation after hospital failings

The family of eight-year-old Hollie McDowall have been awarded compensation totalling £4 million from the NHS Litigation Authority after serious failings by University Hospital Coventry left the youngster with brain damage.

Hollie was born with a significant brain injury that means she now requires round-the-clock care after medical errors during her birth led to her being deprived of oxygen, the Daily Mail reports.

She is unable to sit upright unaided, cannot communicate, is doubly incontinent, prone to seizures and has limited vision, meaning she requires constant supervision and attention to ensure her needs are met.

Born on April 16th 2005, Hollie's delivery suffered severe complications when hospital staff failed to adequately monitor her breathing and a number of significant dips in her heart rate went unchecked.

After an almost 20-hour labour, during which time the baby's heart rate dropped dangerously low, Hollie was born pale, floppy and not breathing. However, she was successfully resuscitated and rushed to the neonatal department where it was confirmed she had suffered severe oxygen deprivation.

As a result of her injuries, Hollie's mother Maryellen McDowall brought the claim against University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust when her child was just six months old.

It has taken a long legal battle to get to this point, but the family have now been awarded a lump sum of £1.7 million and additional annual lifetime payments to help with the costs of Hollie's care.

Meghana Pandit, chief medical officer at University Hospital, told the newspaper: "All staff now attend mandatory training sessions on electronic foetal monitoring and the use of foetal blood sampling. 

"No amount of money can ever compensate for distress and suffering but I trust the family will take comfort knowing the financial settlement will go some way towards helping Hollie."

The compensation will now ensure the family is able to invest in the latest equipment and care to give Hollie the best standard of life possible, while also providing the peace of mind of long-term financial security.

By Francesca Witney