Norfolk

Boy wins £4.6m pay-out from King's Lynn NHS Trust

A six-year-old boy left disabled after "wholly avoidable delays" at birth has won £4.6m in compensation.

Shane Barrett, of Saxlingham Thorpe, near Norwich, suffered serious brain injuries after his heart stopped beating during his birth in 2004.

A High Court judge approved a settlement from the Queen Elizabeth Hospital King's Lynn NHS Trust.

The trust said it had agreed the payment without accepting liability but hoped the money would help Shane.

Lawyers for Shane claimed his injuries were caused by midwives at the hospital mistaking his mother Rachel Alger's heartbeat for his during her labour.

Mrs Alger, who has since had two more boys, gave birth to her first son in the hospital in June 2004, when she and her husband Chris were living in Hilgay, near Downham Market.

But, Shane's lawyers claimed, complications occurred when midwives mistook her normal heartbeat for the abnormal heartbeat of her baby.

Wheelchair-dependent

They argued that if his birth had been brought forward by just 10 minutes, he would have escaped permanent injury.

However, the delay in delivery left Shane brain damaged and suffering from cerebral palsy.

He is wheelchair-dependent and has severe learning difficulties.

In October 2009, the trust agreed to compensate Shane on the basis of 85% liability.

On Monday Mr Justice Eady approved a final settlement from the trust that will see Shane paid a total £4.6m over his lifetime for his ongoing care.

The judge said: "Shane has been very fortunate in relation to the devoted care he has been receiving from his parents over the past six years."

Mrs Alger said outside court she was glad the family's long legal quest was finally over.

In a statement, the hospital trust said it had settled on a "without liability" basis to avoid a lengthy and expensive court case.

"The trust is pleased that the case has now been settled and hopes that the payment will be of benefit to Shane," it said.

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