Essex

Gemma Crabbe awarded multimillion-pound NHS payout

A 23-year-old woman from Essex has been awarded a multimillion-pound payout from the NHS after the High Court ruled her birth had been mishandled.

Gemma Crabbe, of Walton-on-the-Naze, weighed less than 5lb (2.3kg) when she was born at Colchester Maternity Hospital in March 1989.

She was left with disabilities which affect her mobility and speech.

The NHS Midlands and East said it was "pleased" to have reached an agreement with Miss Crabbe.

The family's lawyers had argued that Miss Crabbe's mother, Amanda, had been overdosed with a drug to control her high blood pressure during pregnancy and that this had "crossed the placenta" and harmed her baby in the womb.

'Remarkable woman'

It was also argued that labour-inducing drugs had been used at the hospital which resulted in Gemma being delivered too quickly.

On top of an undisclosed lump sum, Miss Crabbe will receive index-linked and tax-free payments every year for the rest of her life to cover the costs of her care.

The High Court heard how Miss Crabbe would "never be fully independent" but was a "remarkable" woman who carried out voluntary work in her local community.

James Badenoch QC, Miss Crabbe's counsel, had said his client had a "great deal of difficulty in managing the ordinary exercises of daily life".

He said: "She is a girl of great spirit; she tackles everything she does with great cheerfulness. She is, in short, a character."

The trust's counsel, Richard Mumford, said: "The outcome for Gemma is not something anyone would have wanted, but I would like to pay tribute to her and her parents and the way that they have coped with the situation."

Approving the settlement, Mr Justice Macduff said: "I never cease to be amazed to see how people react to adversity. These parents have been superb."

A spokesperson for the NHS Midlands & East said: "The settlement has now been approved by the court and the health authority wishes Miss Crabbe and her family well for the future."

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