'Lovely little girl's' £3.5m payout after being born with severe disabilities at Royal Preston Hospital

A “lovely little girl” who was born severely disabled at the Royal Preston Hospital has won multi-million-pound compensation from the NHS.

Monday, 10th June 2019, 8:58 pm
Updated Monday, 10th June 2019, 9:58 pm
Royal Preston Hospital

The girl, now 11, was upside down in the womb - known as the breech position - when her mother went into labour.

And her lawyers claimed medics failed to give her mum clear advice about the benefits of an elective caesarean delivery.

As it was, complications arose during her conventional birth and she suffered oxygen starvation and brain damage, the High Court heard.

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Although she can walk with help, and has some use of her hands, she is stricken by epilepsy and learning difficulties.

Unable to speak, she makes herself understood as well as she can by making signs, noises and gestures, said barrister, William Featherby QC.

But her frustration at being unable to communicate, means she sometimes loses her temper, kicking out, punching and throwing things about.

The girl’s lawyers sued the Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, claiming the pre-delivery advice given to her mother was negligent.

Had she been told of the advantages of a caesarean, she would have taken that option and her daughter would have been born uninjured, they claimed.

The trust denied liability, but today agreed to settle the girl’s case on the basis of 60 per cent of the full value of her claim.

On top of a £3.5m lump sum, she will receive index-linked and tax-free annual payments to cover the costs of her care for life.

Those payments will start at £60,300 a year, increasing in steps to £110,000 a year when she reaches the age of 19, the court heard.

The judge, Sir Robert Francis QC, said the case was unusual because there was no criticism of the management of the delivery itself, only the advice given.

No amount of money could ever adequately reflect the mother’s devotion, he added.