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“Landmark” medical negligence compensation payout for disabled boy in Northern Ireland

“Landmark” medical negligence compensation payout for disabled boy in Northern Ireland

A teenager, who was left severely disabled following care given shortly after his birth, has been awarded £8 million in compensation, in what is described as a “landmark” award. It is understood that the payout is the biggest of its kind in Northern Ireland.

Medical failings led to catastrophic injuries

The teenage boy, who was granted anonymity and referred to only as “KD, a minor” during court proceedings, was admitted to the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast shortly after his birth. He was treated for an infection he had contracted, but doctors failed to deal with the infection properly, resulting in injuries that were described as “catastrophic”. KD was left with spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy and has subsequently developed epilepsy and learning difficulties. With limited mobility and cognitive functioning following the failings in his treatment, KD requires round-the-clock care.

As their son requires constant, specialist assistance, the family of KD brought an action against the Belfast Social Health and Care Trust, which initially contested the case. However, as the issue was about to go to trial in 2012, the Trust admitted liability.

Since the admission, hearings of the case have concentrated on the issue of damages and structuring a financial package that will ensure that the care needs of KD can be fully met, both now and in the future.

Expert therapy and technology will add to KD’s quality of life

Hearing the case in the High Court in Belfast, Lord Justice Gillen was told how the boy’s house requires special adaptations, with advanced technology to be used to help look after the teenager for the rest of his life. Part of the plans include the installation of a “smart wheelchair”, which will run along tracks laid under the floor of the family home to help KD move around. The teenager will also receive occupational therapy, music therapy, speech and language therapy, hydrotherapy and physiotherapy, from a specialist-trained team in order to assist his development and improve the quality of his life.

However, the costs of such a care package were complex and difficult to determine. Medical experts and technology advisers were enlisted to provide evidence on what is needed by the teenager on a daily basis, with a leading UK statistician and tax experts also consulted to assist in indexing future care costs and advice on financial forecasting.

The £8 million in compensation awarded by Lord Justice Gillen is understood to be the biggest damages payout of its kind in Northern Ireland. The money will be delivered on an ongoing stepped payment basis for the rest of KD’s lifetime. With KD described as “engaging, lively and delightful”, his family have expressed their satisfaction that the award will not only meet the financial costs of his care, but that most importantly, his physical, emotional and developmental needs can now be met throughout his lifetime.

Compensation for medical negligence experienced by babies during and following birth

You are entitled to expect a certain standard of treatment from those providing medical assistance to you. If this treatment falls below standard you may be entitled to recover the cost of the private medical treatment needed to correct the failings on the part of those originally treating you.

If you have concerns about the medical care that you have received, please contact a member of the IBB medical and hospital negligence team. Our goal at IBB Solicitors is to obtain justice for victims of the negligence by others, by securing compensation that reflects their pain and suffering, as well as related financial losses including loss of earnings, treatment costs and specialist care costs.

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 malcolm.underhill@ibblaw.co.uk and one of our team will be able to help you.