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Norfolk hospital to pay £600,000 to girl left disabled by mistakes at birth

PUBLISHED: 14:16 15 November 2018

Firefighters attended 18 false fire alarms at the James Paget Hospital in Gorleston between 2017/18. Picture: Sonya Duncan

Firefighters attended 18 false fire alarms at the James Paget Hospital in Gorleston between 2017/18. Picture: Sonya Duncan

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A young girl left severely disabled after mistakes were made during her birth at a Norfolk hospital will receive an extra £600,000 in damages.

Now nine, she was born at James Paget Hospital in Gorleston in 2009, Mrs Justice Slade told London’s High Court on Thursday.

Due to the ‘admitted negligent management of her mother’s labour’, her brain was starved of oxygen.

She suffered severe cerebral palsy and has sight and communication problems and learning difficulties.

Her life expectancy has been ‘severely reduced’, said her barrister, Derek Sweeting QC.

And she will require ‘care and support round-the-clock’ for the rest of her life.

James Paget University NHS Foundation Trust, which runs the hospital, admitted liability for what happened to the girl.

And in 2016 it agreed to pay her a £2.1 million lump-sum and index-linked annual payments for the rest of her life.

Those payments would start at £95,000-a-year before rising to £149,000-a-year, and then £222,000-a-year, as her care needs increased.

The door was, however, left open for the payout to be increased if changes were later made to the way in which damages are calculated.

From 2002 until March last year, the government assumed that invested damages would grow at 2.5% a year.

But, under pressure from lawyers, former Lord Chancellor, Liz Truss, then reduced the so-called discount rate to minus 0.75%.

And that has since led to a dramatic increase on the level of compensation paid to victims of NHS negligence.

Today, the NHS trust agreed to pay an additional £600,000 to pay for the lifetime of care the girl will need.

NHS barrister, Alexander Hutton QC, apologised for the ‘failures in relation to the management of her mother’s labour and her delivery’.

“I reiterate that apology, on behalf of the Trust, for those failures.”

The QC praised the girl’s ‘loving family’ for the ‘clearly devoted care’ they have given her.

And he hoped the ‘settlement and this further sum will make their lives at least a little easier in the future’.

“I am happy to approve the final settlement,” concluded Mrs Justice Slade.

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