Northern Ireland

Belfast Health Trust to pay landmark compensation to disabled boy

The High Court in Belfast
Image caption The Belfast Health Trust initially contested the case but later admitted liability at the outset of the hearing at the High Court in Belfast

A health trust is to pay a "landmark" £8m compensation settlement to a severely disabled teenager after his family sued it for medical negligence.

The boy is quadriplegic, has cerebral palsy and requires 24-hour specialist care following treatment for an infection shortly after his birth.

His family sued the Belfast Health Trust, which initially contested the case but later admitted liability.

The settlement is believed to be one of the biggest of its kind in NI.

'Huge relief'

The teenage boy has not been named for legal reasons and was referred to as "KD, a minor" during the High Court case in Belfast.

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionThe family's solicitor, Damian Deazley, spoke on their behalf outside the High Court in Belfast

The Belfast legal firm that represents the family, Higgins Hollywood Deazley, described it as a "landmark" settlement.

In a statement, solicitor Damian Deazley, said: "We have worked very closely with KD and his family over several years in the preparation of this claim.

"His condition is so severe and his medical needs are so specialist that we are confident that this settlement will meet not only his financial needs, but more importantly, his physical, emotional and developmental needs for his lifetime.

"It is a huge relief for his family to know that his long term financial and medical requirements will now be looked after."

'Smart wheelchair'

The firm said the settlement would mean the boy could avail of some of the best modern technology available for people with mobility and cognitive difficulties.

"For example, his future home will be adapted to accommodate a "smart wheelchair" which runs along tracks laid under the floor," Mr Deazley said.

"His care package will include, among other things, occupational therapy, music therapy, speech and language therapy, hydrotherapy and physiotherapy from a specialist trained team.

"Our experts believe that the intensive expert therapy and use of technology will add greatly to his development and quality of life into adulthood."

The family's case was initially funded by legal aid but the Belfast Health Trust is to pay their legal costs as part of the settlement.