AN 11-year-old girl brain damaged at birth has won a multi-million-pound payout to fund a lifetime of care.
Unable to speak or walk, the girl uses a voice synthesiser and iPad to communicate and gets about in her £18,000 motorised wheelchair, the High Court heard.
The girl, who cannot be named due to her vulnerability, was starved of oxygen during her birth at West Suffolk Hospital in 2000, said the family’s barrister, James Badenoch QC.
It was the girl’s case that hospital staff failed to spot signs of foetal distress in the womb and the West Suffolk Hospital NHS Trust agreed to compensate her on the basis of 50 per cent liability.
On Monday, Mr Justice Butterfield approved a final settlement of the girl’s case, which will see her receive a £1.75 million lump sum from the trust, plus annual payments to cover the enormous costs of her care for as long as she lives.
Those payments, all index-linked and tax-free, will start at £25,000 until she is 13, before rising to £43,000, and finally to £90,000 in adulthood, when her parents fear their capacity to care for her will be in decline.
Mr Badenoch said of the girl: “She’s usually contented and her parents deserve the highest praise for managing all her myriad difficulties with great skill and utter devotion”.
Addressing the judge, the girl’s father said she is very adept at using her motorised wheelchair.
“It’s fast and manoeuvrable and she likes to show off on it,” he said. “But you can’t really let her out of your sight as she doesn’t know how to recognise danger.”
Sarah Vaughan-Jones QC, for the trust, said: “We are delighted she is here with her family today. The devotion and care of her parents is undoubted and we very much hope that this sum of money will provide her with the very best possible future”.
Mr Justice Butterfield, approving the settlement, said: “These occasions are very very humbling for those of us who have not had to care for a seriously disabled child. I am constantly amazed by the triumph of hope over adversity.” He told the girl: “You have been such a very grown up girl.”