Preston man left disabled by undiagnosed illness wins £4m compensation

Amos Mason with his mum Ruth (right) and carer Rachel Salisbury
Amos Mason with his mum Ruth (right) and carer Rachel Salisbury
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The mum of a severely disabled young man has told of her ‘relief’ after her son was awarded almost £4m in compensation at the High Court.

Amos Mason, now 25, of Cottam, Preston, was born with a serious thyroid condition which went undiagnosed and untreated for much of his childhood.

This was despite repeated visits to local medics – including at the former Sharoe Green Hospital in Preston, his lawyers claimed.

Catastrophe followed when he collapsed and suffered devastating brain injuries at the age of 11.

Faced with the hefty costs of round-the-clock care for Amos, his mother, Ruth, 48, lodged a compensation claim against the Preston Acute Hospitals NHS Trust.

A top judge praised the extraordinary courage and resilience of Ruth and husband Glen as she approved a £3.9 million compensation payout for Amos at a hearing.

Ruth said today: “It has been a bad time and a hard battle but we are happy.

“He will be able to enjoy a lot more things and will have a better quality of life.

“It has been 14 years since we started the litigation. We are just tired, there is a sense of relief.”

Ruth’s lawyers alleged negligence in failing to pinpoint her son’s condition before disaster struck.

In November 2013, the trust agreed to compensate Amos on the basis of 52.5 per cent of the total value of his claim.

Amos’ lawyers accepted that he would have had some disabilities, even had his condition been promptly diagnosed and treated.

Lawyers on all sides acknowledged the extreme complexities of the case.

The family returned to court on Friday seeking Mrs Justice Swift’s approval of a £3.9 million compensation package, designed to help cover the costs of Amos’ care for life.

James Rowley QC, for Amos, said his parents had made enormous sacrifices to raise their son, caring for him at home while holding down demanding jobs.

Medics and carers involved with Amos all paid tribute to the “unstinting patience, love and kindness” his parents had shown, said the barrister.

Mrs Justice Swift, approving the settlement, noted that Amos has “psychological and physical problems and exhibits extremely challenging behaviour”.

“His care requires constant vigilance,” she told London’s High Court. “Nobody who has seen the papers in this case can fail to admire his parents’ resilience.”

NHS care experts had suggested that wheelchair user Amos might be better off in residential care. But the court heard his parents had “expressed a determination that he should continue to live with them and the rest of the family”.

“I have no doubt that this settlement is in his best interests,” the judge concluded.

Part of the damages award will go towards purchasing a specially adapted house for Amos and his family.

Mum Ruth added: “It is such a relief for the case to have settled and to start putting that side of things behind us.

“Now we can focus even more on ensuring that Amos has everything he needs to have the best quality of life.

“This settlement will make a huge difference to Amos’s life and means we will no longer have to worry about who will look after him when we are not here anymore, which was a huge concern.

“Nothing can turn back the clock but we hope that, if anything can be achieved through his case, it is that awareness has been raised.

“It gives us hope that other children with similar conditions receive prompt diagnosis and treatment, and might avoid disabilities of the severity that Amos has.”

“Amos is doing well, he is a happy young man. He has a lot of problems, this will make his life a bit easier.

“It has had a massive impact on our lives, we have given 25 years looking after Amos, we have three other children who have to fit in around Amos.”

Amos’ solicitor, Sally Leonards, said: “This was an extremely challenging and complex case.

“I am delighted to have helped Amos and his family to achieve the justice they deserve.

“Amos has very severe disabilities and significant needs which makes caring for him extremely difficult for his family,

“He is reliant on a wheelchair, he is unable to speak, and has severe learning disabilities and destructive behaviour.

“The decision to take legal action was not made lightly by the family.

“But they felt there were numerous opportunities for doctors to prevent his collapse and brain damage, which our investigation and independent medical evidence supported.”

The Evening Post contacted a number of local health bodies but none were able to provide comment on a case involving a trust which no longer exists.