Nottingham City Hospital payout for baby operation 'error'

A 24-year-old Nottingham woman, who was left with cerebral palsy after alleged medical errors when she was a baby, has won a six-figure compensation payout.

Stacey Jayne Smith nearly died in an operation to remove her gall bladder at Nottingham City Hospital in 1988.

She suffered catastrophic brain injuries when her heart stopped beating, and was left with severe learning difficulties.

The East Midlands Strategic Health Authority (EMSHA) has apologised.

EMSHA has agreed to pay an undisclosed amount of compensation after negotiations with Miss Smith's lawyers on the basis of 70% liability for her injuries.

The authority said a letter of apology had been sent to her and her family.

'Family support'

Approving the settlement at London's High Court, Mr Justice Tugendhat said: "I do express my sympathy to Stacey's family and wish them all the best for the future.

"Stacey has been very fortunate in the support her family has given her, so lovingly, for so long."

Lawyers told the court Miss Smith was born with a congenital condition and was taken into hospital with a high temperature and poor feeding.

Doctors suspected gall stones and carried out an operation to remove her gall bladder.

Miss Smith's lawyers said the operation was carried out negligently, puncturing her bowel which caused her to go into cardiac arrest.

She was resuscitated but suffered permanent brain damage and now has cerebral palsy and problems walking long distances.

Speaking outside court, Miss Smith's solicitor, Bruce Williams, said it would take some time for the outcome to sink in, because Miss Smith's family had become so used to looking after her on their own.

He added: "This is one of those cases which would never have started were it not for public funding, and which might never have happened under current cuts to legal aid."

Her family did not originally realise they had a viable claim against the NHS and the case was only mounted in 2008.

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