Devon

Torbay Hospital pays brain-damaged boy £2.17m compensation

Torbay Hospital sign
Image caption The boy was born at Torbay Hospital in Devon in 2004

A boy who was left disabled for life after suffering brain damage during his birth has been awarded a multi-million pound compensation package.

The child, who cannot be identified, sustained the injury when his brain was starved of oxygen during labour at Torbay Hospital in Devon in 2004.

He will receive a £2.17m lump sum and £189,500 per year until he is 20, in a settlement agreed at the High Court.

The annual payment will then rise to £232,125 for the rest of his life.

Oxygen starvation

The boy's injury left him with cerebral palsy, having to use a wheelchair and unable to perform basic day-to-day tasks.

He can only communicate with the help of technology or pointing with his eyes and has to be fed through a tube.

Following his birth, his family launched a claim against the South Devon Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, alleging its staff were to blame for his injuries.

Lawyers claimed a delay in delivery caused him to suffer the period of hypoxia - oxygen starvation - that damaged his brain.

The trust admitted liability and agreed to a settlement of the claim.

'Appalling misfortune'

The boy's barrister, Robin Oppenheim QC, said he would receive annual, index-linked and tax-free periodical payments to pay for his care.

Mr Oppenheim said the money would ensure the family could purchase a property suitable for their son's extensive needs.

He said: "Their commitment to the claimant is quite extraordinary.

"(His mother) has, in a very literal sense, committed her life to her son. She has cared with immense affection, dedication and understanding for him round-the-clock."

Approving the settlement, Judge Nicholas Cooke QC said the boy had suffered "appalling misfortune" but had the blessing of a loving family.

He said the settlement was in the boy's best interests and paid tribute to the parties for agreeing to settle before costing the public purse any more than the case already had.

The South Devon Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust is yet to comment.

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