Teens awarded £1m after Bristol heart operations

Two teenagers who claim their disabilities were caused by heart treatment as babies in Bristol have been awarded £1m in compensation.

Kristian Dixon and Jessica Johnson were both awarded £500,000 each.

Ms Johnson, 18, who has brain damage, had operations in 1993 and 1995 at the Bristol Royal Infirmary while Mr Dixon, 19, had heart surgery in 1992.

United Bristol Healthcare NHS Trust said the settlements had been reached without admission of liability.

Sarah Paneth, counsel for the trust, said they hoped the compensation would allow the pair to have "secure and fulfilling" futures.

Bristol Royal Infirmary was at the centre of the heart baby scandal, which involved high paediatric death rates in the 1990s.

Mortality rates

It was uncovered by a whistleblowing anaesthetist and prompted a public inquiry.

It found that between 1991 and 1995 the mortality rate for open heart surgery on children under one in Bristol was probably double the rate for England, and even higher for children under 30 days.

Mr Dixon claimed an operation when he was 16-months-old led to his cognitive and learning difficulties.

His counsel, Adam Korn, told Mr Justice Owen that his father Joseph, of Newport, Gwent, had cared for him over the last 19 years with "great dedication".

Ms Johnson, who has brain damage and is cared for by her grandmother Jill Gough in Keynsham, was critical of two operations performed in 1993 and 1995.

Approving the awards, Mr Justice Owen at the High Court said that both families deserved the greatest credit for the devoted care given over the years.

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