£13 million payout for Walsall Manor Hospital blunder which left boy with brain damage
An 11-year-old boy who will have a mental age of six for the rest of his life after a hospital blunder has won a £13 million damages payout at the High Court.
The boy, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, suffered devastating brain damage in the days after his birth at Walsall Manor Hospital. He had been born with an abnormally low blood sugar levels, but staff did not properly monitor or treat him. He is now blind, brain damaged and depends on constant care.
Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust admitted blame two years ago and has now agreed to a huge compensation package.
Mr Justice Holgate, approving the settlement, said the deal was in the boy's best interests. The cash will be paid in a £1.45m lump sum, with annual payments to cover his care and compensate for lost income.
His barrister, Mr Christopher Johnston QC, said: "He is someone who will require care and support for the rest of his life."
The court heard the boy was born at Manor Hospital and his blood sugar abnormality identified, which made him vulnerable. Mr Johnston QC said: "They failed to ensure first, that those blood sugar levels were monitored, and secondly, that the consequent problems from that were treated. As a result, he suffered permanent brain damage."
He said the boy had been left with a mental age of six, with no prospect of improvement, and he also suffered with blindness and behavioural difficulties.
He has limited awareness of danger, making him a risk to himself and others.
Mr Richard Mumford, for the NHS Trust, apologised for the negligence in court.
He said: "A letter will follow today from the Trust, re-iterating the apology which I make on behalf of the Trust. He didn't receive the standard of care he was entitled, and his family were entitled, to expect.
"That's a matter of great regret to the Trust. It is hoped the settlement will offer security for his future."
On top of his lump sum, the boy will also receive index-linked and tax-free annual payments of £88,000 until he is 16, then £120,000 to age 20, and £145,000 a year thereafter.
He will also receive £18,500 a year to compensate for loss of earnings, with the sums due to rise with wage inflation each year. Given his life expectancy of 81, the settlement is worth around £13m.
Approving the agreement, Mr Justice Holgate said: "This must have been a very trying and worrying time for his parents.
"They can perhaps take this comfort, that I am satisfied that they and their son have been well advised and that a properly considered settlement has been arrived at which does justice to the merits of this case."
Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust was unavailable to comment.
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