Northern Ireland

Belfast Trust agrees £8m settlement over brain damage

mater
Image caption The girl was born at the Mater Hospital in north Belfast

A nine-year-old girl from County Antrim who suffered brain damage at birth is to be awarded more than £8m in damages.

The child, who cannot be identified, was starved of oxygen during her delivery at the Mater Hospital.

Her family sued the Belfast Trust, claiming medical negligence had left her with cerebral palsy.

With liability for errors leading to the injury accepted, it is thought the settlement is the biggest of its kind in Northern Ireland.

The claim was brought over delays in her birth when her condition began to deteriorate in 2008.

She suffered severe brain damage and now requires round-the-clock care.

She was awarded about £500,000 in interim damages enabling her family to secure a home adapted for her needs.

A final package drawn up to deal with all therapy and equipment needs for the rest of her life has now been approved by a senior judge.

Lottery win

It will include an initial lump sum payment of £1.6m and further annual amounts for the rest of her life.

The overall level of damages is expected to be in excess of £8m, her solicitor said.

"It's one of the highest value medical negligence cases ever settled in Northern Ireland," said the solicitor.

He said that it should not be seen as a "lottery win" for the family.

"It's a tragedy that these injuries were sustained by this girl," he said.

"The reality is that her parents would exchange all the money in a heartbeat for a child who had not suffered the catastrophic injuries she suffered at the very beginning of her life."

The solicitor added: "The purpose of the damages is to allow this girl to lead as normal a life as possible, to take account of her needs, and to provide for her care and treatment."