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Brain damaged boy awarded £7.3m

Brain damaged boy awarded £7.3m

A boy who was left brain damaged after heart surgery as a baby has been awarded £7.3 million in compensation.

Robbie Crane, 13, from Hemel Hempstead in Hertfordshire, was only a few days old when he was admitted to Harefield Hospital, Middlesex to have transposition of the great arteries corrected in October 1999.

Surgery for the condition, which he was born with, was successful but a legal claim was launched over alleged negligence during a period of ventilation afterwards.

He now has cerebral palsy, limited speech, learning difficulties and behavioural issues, such as having no sense of danger.

As a result he will need 24-hour care and specially-adapted accommodation for the rest of his life.

Two years ago the High Court was told that a settlement had been made with Royal Brompton and Harefield NHS Trust, which agreed to pay 70% of the claim’s full value, despite denying liability.

Mr Justice Tugendhat has given final approval to the settlement and praised the dedication of Robbie’s parents, Catherine and Barrie.

Neil Block QC, for the Trust, explained that although there had been no admission over breach of duty he wanted to say sorry to the family and he hopes now that Robbie’s future is financially secure they will have one worry lifted off their shoulders.

Speaking after the hearing, Mr and Mrs Crane said the settlement finally brings a long legal battle to an end but they are glad that Robbie will have the daily care he needs for the rest of his life.

Laura Thompson, Solicitor in IBB’s Personal Injury and Clinical Negligence team said: “This tragic event in Hillingdon highlights again the difficulties experienced in a number of maternity units across England and Wales, which could be explained by difficulties found by staff in neonatal units, arising from funding issues and other pressures within the NHS.

“In January 2013, I read with sadness the story of Imogen Skelcher in Nuneaton, Warwickshire whose condition and subsequent death could have been prevented had better care been provided to her mother during pregnancy. Robbie Crane’s is a case highlighting the need for improved care after babies are born, to prevent serious illness and even death. Urgent improvements are required across all antenatal and neonatal services to reduce the number of these reports across the country.

“The announcement by Health Minister, Dan Poulter, to inject £25 million into improving maternity services in a number of hospitals across the country came as welcome news back in January 2013. More recently, however, in March 2013 the Bliss baby charity announced the launch of a £250,000 fund, with the support of the True Colours Trust, to improve family facilities in neonatal units.

“While the NHS funding for such non-medical facilities in neonatal units is already quite limited, it will certainly be welcome to not only improve their facilities but to free up NHS funds to improve the care provision itself.”

IBB Solicitors has built a reputation for quality of service in pursuing compensation in cases involving accident, illness or death, including serious brain injury. If you want to enquire about making a personal injury compensation claim, please contact a member of our team on 01895 207835 or 01895 207295. Alternatively, you can send an email with your name and contact information and brief details as to the nature of the accident/clinical negligence and the injuries sustained to PI@ibblaw.co.uk and one of our team will be able to help you.