A twin boy born to face a lifetime of severe disability at the Royal Preston Hospital is to be awarded a seven-figure NHS compensation payout.
While the boy’s brother was born perfectly healthy, his life will always be blighted by learning difficulties, right-sided paralysis and acute epilepsy.
Lawyers for the now 10-year-old said his mother had suffered miscarriages in the past and her pregnancy was recognised as “high risk”.
The plan put in place by the consultant in charge of her case was that she should undergo a planned Caesarean before reaching her due date.
But her barrister, William Featherby QC, claimed that, when she went into labour, repeated attempts were made to achieve a conventional delivery.
Forceps were used after the baby’s head became “impacted” in his mother’s pelvis and his eventual Caesarean delivery was delayed.
The barrister claimed the mother never consented to the change of plan and that, had it been followed, her son would have escaped injury.
Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, however, denied that its medics were in any way to blame.
It insisted that the consultant’s plan was not written in stone and that the mother had expressed a preference for a conventional delivery.
Describing it as a “difficult and complex” case, Mr Featherby said there had even been a dispute over whether the boy was delivered before, or after, his twin.
But he told Judge Sarah Richardson after negotiations, the trust had agreed to pay half the full value of the boy’s damages claim.
The amount of his payout has yet to be finally assessed, but his award is likely to run into millions even after a 50 per cent reduction.
Approving the compromise, Judge Richardson said there were significant factual and medical disputes about what happened in the delivery room.
It was an ‘all or nothing’ case and, had it gone to trial, there was a real risk that the boy and his family might have come away empty-handed.
NHS counsel, Bradley Martin QC, paid tribute to the boy’s parents for their constructive approach to settling the case.
They had shown immense commitment to their son’s care and were determined to do their very best for him, he added.
Judge Richardson concluded: “This settlement properly reflects the risks on both sides.
“The love and devotion these parents have for their son is quite clear to me.”
In a statement after the case, Karen Partington, chief executive of Lancashire Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We are very sorry for any distress this has caused to the family; we have been working with them to reach a resolution.”