Boy handed £500,000 from Sheffield NHS trust after suffering brain damage at Hallamshire Hospital

A boy who suffered brain damage at a Sheffield hospital before being born has been given a settlement of £500,000.

Monday, 16th December 2019, 3:49 pm
Updated Tuesday, 17th December 2019, 4:18 pm
The Royal Hallamshire Hospital in Sheffield
The Royal Hallamshire Hospital in Sheffield

The High Court in London heard how the boy, who is now 15, was still in the womb when he suffered a brain haemorrhage and “massive bleeding” at Royal Hallamshire Hospital.

The teenager's barrister Simeon Maskrey QC said: “Nobody knows why.”

Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust made no admission of liability, denying that clinical negligence played a part in the boy’s injuries.

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However, they have agreed to settle his claim for £500,000.

Staff at the hospital also incorrectly thought the infant was suffering from both a genetic heart defect and leukemia.

The court heard that the boy’s condition was so severe, his parents accepted that labour should run its course without any intervention from doctors. However, Mr Maskrey argued that this decision was based on the “incorrect assumptions” from the doctors and that intervention had been necessary.

Mr Maskrey added that secondary damage from bleeding that continued after the child’s delivery could have been avoided.

Lawyers for the NHS claimed that appropriate advice and treatment had been provided, adding that by the time of the boy’s delivery “the die was cast” and the damage had already occurred.

The boy faces a lifetime of severe disability, with Mr Maskrey saying the settlement was a "reasonable outcome" for him and his family.

Judge Margaret Obi said she hoped the pay-out would give "some comfort" to them.

Gill Edwards a specialist in handling cases around birth injuries from Potter Rees Dolan solicitors said: “When statutory services are so stretched, the families of children with disabilities caused by clinical negligence sometimes choose the certainty of a settlement, even if it does not compensate for fully for the loss or future needs.

“Where the risks of losing a case altogether at trial are in the balance, a family might accept a percentage of the overall value of the claim just to have the comfort of knowing there are additional funds available.”