Northampton six-year-old starved of oxygen during birth to receive £1 million NHS payout for future care

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A YOUNG girl left severely brain damaged after being starved of oxygen during her difficult birth is to receive a £1 million NHS payout.

The six-year-old, who is from the Northampton area but cannot be identified, was “effectively stillborn” following delays in her delivery at Northampton General Hospital in March 2006.

As a result of the serious brain injury she suffered, the girl is severely disabled, has epilepsy, autism and kidney problems, and will need round-the-clock care for the rest of her life.

Through her mother, the child sued Northampton General Hospital NHS Trust and a financial settlement was approved at the High Court, in London yesterday.

She will receive a lump sum of just over £1m, plus annual payments, index-linked and tax free, for the rest of her life, starting at £155,000 and rising to £282,000 when she turns 21.

The trust previously settled a compensation claim by the mother for injuries she sustained during her daughter’s birth.

Her lawyers told the court she was “effectively stillborn” and her brain irrecoverably damaged after her delivery was delayed by more than four hours. James Badenoch QC, for the girl, said: “There were clear signs of hypoxic distress within the womb, but those signs were either ignored or not interpreted correctly. She should have been delivered by Caesarean section at around 4pm, but delivery didn’t happen until around 8.15pm, more than four hours later.”

The trust admitted full liability for the girl’s injuries and its lawyers gave the family an “unreserved apology”. Paul Rees QC, for the trust, said: “Nothing I can say can right the wrong that was done, but the child, her mother and all the family are entitled to hear, in open court, an unreserved apology and, through me, that is given. I would also like to pay a public tribute to the child’s mother and all those who have looked after her. The past six years have demanded much and they have risen to those challenges.”

Approving the settlement, Mr Justice Foskett said: “I am always lost in admiration for what parents do in these situations. There is absolutely no doubt at all this is an excellent settlement as far as the child is concerned.”

Solicitor, Russell Levy said: “We’re delighted to have been able to reach a settlement that should ensure all her very substantial needs are catered for, for the rest of her life.”