Essex

Basildon University Hospital: Girl disabled at birth awarded £5.85m

Basildon University Hospital Image copyright Google
Image caption The unnamed girl, now aged eight, suffered damage to her spinal cord during her birth at Basildon University Hospital, the High Court heard

A girl left disabled after she suffered severe spinal cord damage during her birth has been awarded £5.85m in NHS compensation.

The child, now aged eight, sustained the "rare" injury at Basildon University Hospital, Essex, and will need "significant" lifelong care.

The local NHS trust denied liability, but agreed a settlement under which the girl will receive a payout.

A High Court judge approved the deal and said the sum would help the family.

Judge Karen Walden-Smith said the settlement was in the best interests of the girl, who sat in court with her family, but cannot be identified for legal reasons.

'Bright, happy girl'

"I wish the family all the best," she said.

"I hope that this settlement will make life easier going forward.

"You have a very bright, happy little girl."

The family's barrister, Sally Hatfield QC, said some of the money would be used to buy a house better suited to the girl's needs.

The family's legal team said she had been delivered with forceps and her disabilities were not discovered until she got home.

Tests later showed damage to her upper spinal cord and she is permanently disabled.

The family said an attempt to deliver her by ventouse cap - an instrument attached to the baby's head - had caused the injury, but the Basildon and Thurrock University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust denied liability.

Eddie Jones, of JMW Solicitors, said afterwards: "This is a very unusual case as it is rare to see such a significant spinal injury caused to a baby during birth.

"This girl and her family will have to live with the consequences of this for the rest of their lives, but at least now they will have some financial help to make the best of a very tragic situation."

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