UK Injury Compensation News

In the UK, medical negligence claims can be made by anybody who has sustained an injury or loss due to the negligence of a medical practitioner who owed them a duty of care. Medical negligence claims in the UK have to prove that an avoidable injury was sustained or an existing condition deteriorated due to a breach in that medical practitioner´s duty of care.

Get advice on your entitlement to make UK medical negligence claims directly from a solicitor on our freephone injury claims advice service without obligation to proceed with medical negligence claims in the UK and in total confidentiality.

More Funds Available for NHS Medical Negligence Claims

The NHS Litigation Authority – the public body responsible for indemnifying the National Health Service (NHS) against medical injury compensation – is to receive a 185 million pounds boost to its finances to help cope with the increasing number of medical negligence claims made against the NHS.

The Health Secretary, Andrew Lansbury, has agreed to the injection of funds after discovering that the value of outstanding claims for medical injury compensation against the NHS could result in a liability of 16.85 billion pounds. This is in addition to the 1 billion pounds paid out annually in structured compensation settlements from previous years.

The financial director of the NHS Litigation Authority, Tim Fothergill, explained that much of the shortfall could be attributed to a higher survival rate of babies born with brain damage. “We have about 100 claims involving brain-damaged babies a year” Mr Fothergill told The Times in an interview, “and a legal ruling five years ago which linked the wages of claimants´ carers to earnings rather than inflation has also led to increased payouts”.

Health Minister Lord Howe added “The vast majority of the millions of people treated by the NHS every year experience good quality, safe and effective care. However, if patients do not receive the treatment they should and mistakes are made, it is right that they are entitled to compensation and the NHS Litigation Authority plays a vital role in ensuring that claims are settled as swiftly as possible. Following a review of claims, we have made additional funds available to the NHS Litigation Authority in order to make sure that those claimants who are entitled to compensation receive it in a timely way.”

In the past five years, claims for medical injury compensation made against the NHS have risen from 5,697 to 8,655 per year.

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Hospital Negligence Claims 1 in 10 Report Reveals

Figures revealed by NHS Wales revealed that almost one-in-ten patient safety incidents result in a fatality or serious injury due to hospital medical negligence. The report showed that between April and September 2011 fifty-five avoidable deaths and sixty-eight incidents of “severe harm” to patients occurred in NHS Trusts in Wales.

Kirsty Williams, leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats, said: “It is accepted that some patients will die in hospitals, but it is unacceptable that patients die due to hospital error.” She called for an investigation into the high level of avoidable injury after learning that 41 deaths had been reported by the Aneurin Bevan Health Board in the six month period.

Other Health Boards which reported significant high numbers of patient fatality attributable to hospital medical negligence included Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board where more than 40 patients have known to have died due to “patient safety incidents” in the past eighteen months, and Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University Health Board and Hywel Dda Health Board which each recorded 30 avoidable deaths during the same period.

A total of 26,749 patient safety incidents were recorded in Wales between April and September, but doubts were cast on the integrity of the figures by Powys Local Health Board reporting just one patient safety incident following 264 in the previous accounting period.

A spokesman on behalf of NHS Wales commented on the figures by saying “Every year, thousands of patients receive high quality, safe and effective treatment, but in a modern health system – where increasingly complicated procedures are being undertaken – sadly, mistakes can, and will, still happen. When this happens, the NHS must investigate and take action, where appropriate, and provide assurances and feedback to patients”.

However, Ms Williams was impressed. “If the Health Boards can learn from their mistakes”, she said “they can reduce the number of people who die needlessly in our NHS”.

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Cancer Misdiagnosis Victim Wins Hospital Negligence Claim

A woman who had her stomach erroneously removed after being misdiagnosed with cancer has won her hospital negligence claim and received an undisclosed settlement from Mid Staffordshire General Hospitals NHS Trust.

The 74-year-old woman from Rugeley, Staffordshire, underwent the surgery in 2004 after doctors told her that a tumour in her stomach was malignant. She later discovered from support medical staff that her test results had been misinterpreted and that the tumour was benign.

As a result of her operation and long recovery period the woman, who wishes to remain anonymous, has lost a significant amount of weight and suffers from painful digestive problems. She has been unable to continue the voluntary work she did before the operation and now requires regular care and assistance.

The undisclosed out-of-court hospital negligence claim settlement has been calculated to include the psychological trauma of being told that she had a life-threatening tumour inside of her and the deterioration in her quality of life due to the unnecessary surgery. It will enable the woman to receive a higher level of care in the future and support to help her recover from her emotional ordeal.

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Man Awarded 17,300 Pounds at Clinical Malpractice Hearing

A Devon man has been awarded a total of 17,300 Pounds in clinical malpractice compensation after the unauthorised access of his medical records resulted in the exacerbation of his paranoid personality disorder.

Judge Cotter QC, sitting at the Plymouth County Court, heard how the medical records of Sean Robert Grinyer of Plymouth, Devon, had been access and disclosed by Mr Grinyer´s ex-partner who was, at the time of the offence in December 2007, employed at the hospital as a nurse.

This unauthorised access and disclosure was claimed by Mr Grinyer´s legal counsel to be in breach of S.13 of the Data Protection Act 1988 and the action by the claimant´s partner, plus an alleged mis-handling of his subsequent complaint, had caused Mr Grinyer´s pre-existing paranoid personality disorder to worsen. It was also claimed in the action against Plymouth Hospital NHS Trust that the deterioration in his condition had also caused Mr Grinyer to reject an offer of temporary employment.

After hearing expert medical opinion in respect of Mr Grinyer´s paranoid personality disorder, Judge Cotter QC ruled that the exacerbation of his condition did indeed constitute an injury and was due to negligence on behalf of the Plymouth Hospital NHS Trust. The judge awarded Mr Grinyer 12,500 Pounds in clinical malpractice compensation for the injuries he had sustained plus a further 4,800 Pounds for loss of earnings when unable to accept the offer of employment.

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Baby Tube Hospital Medical Negligence Claim Resolved

A couple from Staffordshire have been awarded an undisclosed hospital medical negligence settlement after their son coughed up a tube which had been left in his throat following a surgical procedure.

Claire Thomas of Cannock, Staffordshire, had just given birth to her son, Owen, at the Stafford Hospital in February 2007 when the error occurred. Owen had been a difficult birth, and because he had experienced should dystocia during the delivery, an endotracheal tube had been inserted into his throat to enable him to breathe.

Due to the birth complications, Claire and Owen were still in the specialist care unit at Stafford Hospital ten days later when Owen started choking. Claire slapped him on the back, and Owen coughed up the six inch tube which had been left in his throat following the procedure.

After taking legal advice, Claire and her husband, Kevin, filed a hospital medical negligence claim against the Mid-Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust which has now been resolved for an undisclosed sum. Owen, their son, has fortunately suffered no long-term consequences as a result of the hospital oversight.

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Birth Injury Compensation Agreed for Cerebral Palsy Boy

A young boy, who has left brain damaged and suffering from cerebral palsy due to negligence at his birth, has had his birth injury compensation settlement approved in the High Court.

Dontay Crooks (6) from Oxford was born in the city´s John Radcliffe Hospital in 2005, but complications developed during his birth which resulted in the young boy being starved of oxygen and sustaining a cerebral palsy injury as a result.

The High Court in London heard that Dontay now has little control over his limbs and is unable to walk. He is also visually impaired, has severe learning difficulties and suffers from bouts of epilepsy.

In the claim for birth injury compensation made against the Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust by Dontay´s mother, it was alleged that with better management of the birth Dontay would not had sustained such traumatic injuries and would be able to maintain a more normal life.

The John Radcliffe Hospital and Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust admitted liability for Dontay´s injuries and agreed to an immediate lump sum settlement of 1 million pounds with further annual payments on a rising scale which will reach 140,000 pounds per year when Dontay reaches the age of eighteen.

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Compensation for Operation on Wrong Side of Heart

A man, who was woken during surgery to tell him that his heart operation had gone wrong, has received a six-figure sum in compensation after making a medical negligence claim.

Steve Edwards (51) from Weston-Super-Mare, North Somerset, was having a minor heart procedure at the Bristol Royal Infirmary in 2008 when the error occurred. During the surgery, an item of equipment slipped, causing a radio pulse to be applied to the wrong side of his heart.

The error meant that Mr Edwards would require a pacemaker to be fitted, and the heavily anaesthetised was brought around to advise him of the treatment he required. Mr Edwards claimed in his action against the Bristol Royal Infirmary that he did not appreciate the severity of the issue at the time, and it was only in an outpatient´s appointment ten weeks later that the full extent of the error became known.

Despite three subsequent attempts at corrective surgery, Mr Edwards will now have to wear the pacemaker for the rest of his life – meaning that he will have to undergo surgery once every seven years to replace the battery. The Bristol Royal Infirmary admitted negligence and agreed a six-figure sum in compensation with Mr Edwards´ legal representatives in an out-of-court settlement.

In a statement, the Bristol Royal Infirmary stated “Technical errors during Mr Edwards’ cardiac ablation procedure resulted in the catheter moving and radio frequency energy being delivered to the wrong side of his heart. Further checks have been introduced to ensure that the catheter is perfectly placed before radio frequency energy is delivered.”

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Brain Damaged at Birth Compensation Settlement Approved

An eleven year old girl, who was starved of oxygen during her birth and is now permanently brain damaged, has had a compensation settlement of 1.75 million pounds approved at the High Court.

The unnamed girl was born at West Sussex Hospital in 2000 but, during her delivery, obstetric staff failed to notice signs of foetal distress. The girl is unable to walk or talk, and uses an electric scooter for mobility and a computer to communicate.

“I am constantly amazed by the triumph of hope over adversity” stated Mr Justice Butterfield, as he approved the  birth injury compensation settlement against the West Sussex NHS Trust which includes an immediate lump sum payment of 1.75 million pounds and annual payments to fund a lifetime of care.

Mr Justice Butterfield also had words for the girl´s parents, acknowledging that “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.”

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Negligence Compensation Approved for Disabled Teenager

A teenage girl, who was left paralysed by a spinal surgeon´s negligence, has had a multi-million pounds doctor injury compensation settlement approved by the High Court in London.

Laura May (17) of Chorley, Lancashire, was admitted to the Royal Preston Hospital in March 2005 for an operation to correct a curvature of her spine. However, her orthopaedic surgeon – Dr Roger Battersby Smith – failed to use an imaging technique before operating, and negligently misplaced a screw during the operation.

As a result of Dr Smith´s negligence, Laura lost the use of her limbs and is paralysed from the chest down.

After seeking legal advice, Laura´s parents – Bill and Christine May – sued Dr Smith and the Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust for doctor injury compensation and, in 2009, the Royal Court of Justice ruled in favour of Laura and her family.

The High Court in London has now approved a negotiated settlement which will comprise of a lump sum payment now and periodic payments throughout Laura´s life. The total compensation package – which is believed to be around 3 million pounds – will provide medical care, specialised accommodation and equipment for Laura, as well as compensating her for future loss of earnings.

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7 Million Pounds Settlement Approved for Brain Damaged Boy

A seven year old boy, whose delayed delivery resulted in brain damage, has had a  birth injury compensation package approved in the High Court which is estimated to be worth 7 million pounds.

The boy, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was born in 2004 at Ipswich Hospital, but suffered a hypoxic injury at the time of his birth which left him starved of oxygen and which would not have occurred had the delivery been brought forward.

The boy sustained a cerebral palsy injury and dystonia – a neurological disorder which causes muscle twitches resulting in repetitive movements or abnormal posture – which means he cannot stand, sit or grab items. The condition also affects his sleep, and has led to the child having speech impairments and learning difficulties.

At the High Court, Mr Justice Butterfield heard that Ipswich Hospitals NHS Trust had admitted negligence in 2007 and had now agreed to a compensation package which comprised of a lump sum of 3.25 million pounds, with further annual payments of 124,000 pounds a year – rising to 175,000 pounds a year in 2023.

The compensation package will pay for the specially adapted accommodation into which the boy´s family have already moved, ongoing speech and language therapy, supporting care and specialised equipment. The compensation package increases in 2023 to account for inflation and to cover the child´s loss of earnings.

Approving the settlement, Mr Justice Butterfield paid tribute to the boy´s parents, stating that “The parents have cared for this child with love and devotion over many years. The money is a tiny irrelevance for the difficulties they have gone through. At least the financial recompense is security for the future.”

 

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15,000 Pounds for Missed Severed Tendon Diagnosis

A renowned magician, whose doctor´s overlooked a severed tendon in his hand which threatened to end his career, has been awarded 15,000 pounds in an out-of-court settlement of his medical negligence claim.

Kyle Summers (40) from Burbage, Wiltshire, had attended the Accident and Emergency Department of the George Eliot Hospital in Nuneaton after a cup he had been cleaning shattered in his hand. Doctors at the hospital took an x-ray of Kyle´s left hand to ensure that there was no china lodged in his thumb and then stitched the wound up and sent Kyle home.

When Kyle´s started to experience difficulty performing his magic tricks, he decided to have the hand looked at by his GP, but because the notes made at the hospital indicated that there was no damage to the tendon – even though the cut on Kyle´s thumb had been deep enough to reach the bone – the GP and a physiotherapist decided that the tendon had swollen.

It was after a further check-up six weeks later that the true cause of the problem was identified. Kyle had to undergo two operations to insert a rod in his wrist and attach a thicker tendon before the injury started to heal. Only after months of intense specialist physiotherapy did Kyle gain the dexterity in his hand to enable him to work again.

After seeking legal advice, Kyle sued the George Eliot NHS Trust for medical negligence and, in an out-of-court settlement, received 15,000 pounds for the missed diagnosis of his severed tendon.

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London Boy Awarded 6.6 Million Pounds for Birth Injury

A young boy, who suffered catastrophic brain damage during his delivery, has had a compensation settlement package approved at London´s High Court.

Leo Whiten (7) from Tooting, London, was born in 2004 at St. George´s Hospital in Tooting but, due to the mismanagement of his birth, suffered brain damage which has left him requiring full-time care as he is unable to stand or walk by himself and has limited speech, which was described in court as non-functional.

St. George´s Healthcare NHS Trust admitted shortcomings in respect of managing Samantha Nowell´s labour – Leo´s mother – and during his birth, and at the High Court in London, Mrs Justice Swift heard expert testimony that Leo will always be totally dependent on the care of others for his daily activities.

Announcing the settlement package, which consists of a 2.7 million pounds lump payment and staged annual payments, the judge stated that “Leo will never be able to live independently, will not be capable of any form of employment and will never have the necessary mental capacity to be able to manage his own affairs”.

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Cerebral Palsy Girl Awarded 5 Million Pounds Compensation

A twelve-year-old girl, who sustained severe brain damage due to mistakes made during her delivery, has been awarded 5 million pounds in a personal injury settlement.

Sophie Clarke (12) from Pontyclun, Rhondda Cynon Taf, was born in 1998 at the Princess of Wales Hospital, Bridgend. However, a gross abnormality of Sophie´s heart rate was not recognised, despite it registering on monitoring equipment.

Had staff at the Princess of Wales Hospital noticed Sophie´s condition, they would have intervened and delivery her by Caesarean Section. However, they allowed the birth to continue naturally, causing Sophie to suffer from a lack of oxygen in the womb.

Sophie suffers from severe cerebral palsy as a result of the errors made at the hospital and now needs twenty-four hour care, is fed via a tube and is confined to a wheelchair.

Solicitors acting on behalf of the family sued the Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University Health Board for negligence, and in a hearing at Cardiff Crown Court the negotiated settlement of 5 million pounds was approved.

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Paralysed at Birth Child Awarded 6 Million Pound Package

A six year old boy, who is only able to move his eyes after an error in his delivery left him in a quadriplegic condition, has been awarded a 6 million pounds compensation package at London´s High Court.

The boy, whose name was withheld in court, sustained severe cerebral palsy due to delays in a caesarean section being performed at Epsom Hospital in December 2004 and now requires around-the-clock care.

Suing Epsom and St Helier University Hospitals NHS Trust through his mother, the boy claimed that their medical negligence had led to his condition and, after an investigation, Mr Justice Eady at the High Court heard that the NHS Trust admittedly liability.

The medical negligence compensation settlement which totals 5,961,199 pounds, is to paid in a lump sum of 2.8 million pounds to pay for the care and specialist treatment he requires now, with further index-linked and tax free payments throughout the remainder of the child´s life.

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10 Million Pounds Awarded to Prison Inmates

A report released by the Ministry of Justice has revealed that more than 10 million pounds has been awarded in compensation payments to prison inmates over the past five years.

Although the vast majority of claims are in respect of “processing” delays, leading to the late release of prisoners, four payments in excess of 50,000 pounds were made in the last financial year in personal injury compensation and more than 1.6 million pounds in medical negligence compensation.

A spokesman from the Ministry of Justice said “The vast majority of prisoners’ compensation claims are relatively trivial, do not merit financial redress, and are dismissed at an early stage. All claims are robustly defended, and would only be settled on the basis of strong legal advice, and in order to seek the best value for the taxpayer. Compensation would then be determined following judicial guidelines and a full analysis of the available evidence.”

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Cuts in UK Legal Aid to Threaten Clinical Malpractice Claims

Representatives of the “Sound Off For Justice” campaign have claimed that proposed cuts in the amount of financial assistance given to claimants in UK civil cases could have devastating consequences for the victims of medical malpractice.

Legal Aid has been available for citizens of the UK ever since the end of the Second World War, but the cost of providing this facility has now spiralled out of control according to the Secretary of State for Justice, Ken Clarke. The current level of Legal Aid in the UK costs the taxpayer more than 2 billion pounds each year, and Mr Clarke would like to see this figure reduced by 350 million pounds before 2015.

This would still mean that Britain spends more money on Legal Aid than any other country in the world however justice campaigners have highlighted the case of Andrew Green from Grimsby as the type of legal claim which would no longer receive financial assistance.

Andrew was born in 1997 with cerebral palsy due to medical staff’s delays in dealing with complications during his delivery. Because his family qualified for Legal Aid, they were able to pay for an in-depth investigation into the circumstances of his birth and eventually secure compensation which will cover the cost of Andrew´s care for the rest of his life.

Campaigners claim that cuts to the programme could leave many families financially unable to claim compensation where medical negligence has occurred. Lawyers supporting the “Sound Off For Justice” campaign also claim that victims in cases involving divorce, employment law and other forms of professional malpractice will also suffer.

Officials from the Ministry of Justice say that no final decision has been made on the future of the Legal Aid programme following a public consultation period which attracted more than 5,000 responses.

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Seven Figure Compensation Award Anticipated for Little Joe

A ten-year-old Wolverhampton boy, who was brain damaged at birth due to alleged hospital malpractice, has won his battle for compensation.

Joseph O’Reggio from Wolverhampton, West Midlands, was born in April 2001 at the New Cross Hospital in Wolverhampton. Prior to his delivery, Mr Justice Tugendhat heard at London´s High Court, Joe was starved of oxygen and suffered brain damage as a result.

The consequences of his birth injury left Joe with cerebral palsy, wheelchair bound and suffering from severe learning difficulties. The Court also heard how Joe is unable to speak or feed himself.

It was claimed in an action against the Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust that medical staff should have realised at an earlier stage that Joe was in distress and brought forward his delivery.

Although the NHS Trust denied that Joe´s injuries were caused by medical negligence, they agreed on the day before the trial was due to commence to admit 80 per cent liability for the claim, which will now go for assessment of damages.

Mr Justice Tugendhat approved the agreement, expressing his sympathy and best wishes to Joe´s parents.

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Four Million Pounds Compensation in Brain Birth Injury Case

A Norfolk teenager, who was left with severe brain damage after delays in her delivery, has had a 4 million pounds compensation settlement approved in the High Court.

Tahlia Jade Downes (15) of Hellesdon, Norfolk, was born at the Norfolk and Norwich Hospital on 22 June 1995, after her mother, Dawn, endured a prolonged and troubled labour. During her delivery, Tahlia´s brain was starved of oxygen, resulting in Tahlia developing cerebral palsy and being confined to a wheelchair.

Through her mother, Tahlia claimed that medical staff were responsible for her injuries as they had allegedly failed to respond when the labour had become difficult, and not performed a Caesarean section operation – choosing instead to deliver Tahlia with the use of forceps.

Mrs Justice Thirlwall at the High Court heard how Tahlia suffers from both mental and physical disabilities as a result of her birth injury and also experiences difficulty with her vision. Mrs Justice Thirlwall also heard that the Norfolk and Norwich NHS Trust denied liability for Tahlia´s injuries, but had agreed that the teenager should be compensated on the basis of 70 per cent of her claim.

Approving the settlement, the judge paid tribute to Tahlia´s family, stating that” It is not for the first time in this court that I am privileged to observe and read about the loving care given to children by their parents and family. I have no doubt that Tahlia is as well as she is because of the enduring care of her parents and her brothers. I salute you all.”

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Child Amputee Wins 1.78 Million Pounds Medical Negligence Case

A ten year old girl from Devon has been awarded 1.78 million pounds at London’s High Court in a case against her GP who failed to make a home visit when the child contracted meningitis.

Lydia Cross, from Braunton, North Devon, was just two years of age when she fell ill in 2003 with septicaemia. Her worried parents – Jodie and Tony – called their local GP, Dr. John Harrison of Malmesbury, only to be told that they could not have a home visit because it was against surgery policy.

Instead, Dr. Harrison gave medical advice over the phone – believing that Lydia only had a virus. Only when the sickness persisted were the family able to make an emergency appointment six hours later and, as a result of this delay, Lydia had to have both of her legs amputated.

Lydia’s parents sued Dr. Harrison, claiming that the disease could have been cured had the doctor made a house visit. After an investigation into the circumstances, Dr. Harrison admitted liability and said in a statement that he “could have done more” for Lydia.

The case was brought before the High Court to determine the amount of compensation to be awarded, and a settlement of 1.78 million pounds was agreed to provide Lydia with prosthetic legs for the rest of her life. Each set of legs costs approximately 15,500 pounds and Lydia will require regular treatment on her legs and new limbs as she grows.

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4.6 Million Pounds Compensation for Confused Heartbeat at Birth

A six year old boy, whose heart stopped beating shortly before he was born, has had a 4.6 million pounds compensation package approved in the High Court.

Shane Barrett (6), of Saxlingham Thorpe, Norfolk, was born in the Queen Elizabeth Hospital King’s Lynn in June 2004. Just prior to his birth his heart stopped beating, but midwives allegedly failed to notice his condition after they confused his irregular heartbeat with that of his mother, Rachel.

As a result, Shane suffered from a lack of oxygen and sustained cerebral palsy at his birth. His brain damaged condition has meant that he is dependent on a wheelchair for mobility, and has severe learning difficulties.

At the High Court Mr Justice Eady heard that the settlement had been agreed between Shane´s legal representatives and the Queen Elizabeth Hospital King’s Lynn NHS Trust without admission of liability, and was before him solely for his approval.

After hearing that the compensation was to be paid out over the course of Shane´s life to ensure permanent care, the judge said “Shane has been very fortunate in relation to the devoted care he has been receiving from his parents over the past six years”.

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