Cumbria

Oxygen-starved birth girl Ayla Ellison awarded damages

Furness General Hospital, Barrow Image copyright PA
Image caption Ayla Ellison's birth at Furness General Hospital, Barrow, was "traumatic", the High Court was told

A girl left disabled after being starved of oxygen at birth has been awarded a multimillion-pound compensation package.

Ayla Ellison, of Ulverston, Cumbria, suffered severe brain damage following a "traumatic" birth at Furness General Hospital, Barrow, in April 2007.

In 2012, Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust admitted staff negligence.

At London's High Court earlier it was ruled the trust will pay a tax-free sum every year for the rest of Ayla's life.

Mr Justice Warby ruled the organisation must pay an index-linked amount starting at £225,000 and rising to £290,000 when she turns 18.

While admitting it was at fault, the trust had disputed the value of the claim for damages. It has been providing financial assistance to the family since 2012.

'Screaming inconsolably'

Ayla, now eight, is totally immobile and dependent on being fed through a tube.

The court was told she is at constant risk of hypothermia as she cannot control her body temperature.

Despite her immobility, she suffers muscle spasms that leave her "screaming inconsolably at the top of her voice for hours".

Painkillers do not stop the pain, which can only be quelled by immersion in a hydrotherapy pool.

Ayla's father now works in London and the settlement includes £1.6m to buy a family home in Richmond. Further money will be needed to adapt it to Ayla's needs and install a hydrotherapy pool.

The judge awarded a £295,000 lump sum for Ayla's pain, suffering and disability and he paid tribute to her parents for the "calm and intelligent way" they had dealt with the tragedy.

Trust medical director David Walker said: "We are very sorry for the harm caused to Ayla and the distress caused to her family as a result of the issues arising from her birth.

"The injuries she suffered are very severe and a tragedy for her and her family. Her parents have had to cope with extraordinary pressures in looking after her."

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