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Obtaining compensation from the NHS if you are a victim of medical negligence may not always be easy, but one case involving a seriously disabled 14-year-old boy showed that specialist lawyers will fight to the end to achieve justice.
The boy had been starved of oxygen shortly before his birth, about a week after his due date. He suffers from cerebral palsy as a result and will require care for life. A scan during his mother's pregnancy had revealed that he was unusually small but she had not been informed of any concerns about her child.
The relevant NHS trust accepted that that was negligent. However, it argued that, even had she been kept properly informed, and even if further scans had been carried out, the mother would not have elected to have delivery induced on the due date. Those arguments succeeded before the High Court and the boy's claim was dismissed.
In reversing that decision, however, the Court of Appeal found on the evidence that, had the mother – who has a degree in nursing – been told that delaying the delivery carried increased risk, she would have opted for induction. If she had been given the information that she should have been, her son would have been delivered earlier and unharmed.
The amount of the boy's compensation has yet to be assessed, but is expected to be a seven-figure sum.