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£2.4m award over premature birth


26 February, 2008  

A UK hospital has agreed to pay a South Yorkshire girl £2.4m after her premature birth resulted in quadriplegic cerebral palsy.

Elspeth Austin, now aged nine, of Carlton, Barnsley, will need round-the-clock care for the rest of her life after her “extremely premature” birth at Barnsley District Hospital, the High Court heard.

Elspeth’s twin Charlotte died within a week of their births at 25-and-a-half weeks.

Lawyers for the family argued that if appropriate steps had been taken in relation to the development of “twin to twin transfusion syndrome”, the pregnancy could have been prolonged.

Barnsley Hospital NHS denied liability, but agreed to pay £2.4m damages to Elspeth in settlement of the action.

A claim in relation to Charlotte’s death was previously settled at £7,000.

Elspeth’s parents Faye, 36, and father Charles, 38, who also have a five-year-old son Cameron, were both in court for the hearing.

Giving his approval to the settlement, Mr Justice Openshaw said: “This is the best that can possibly be done for Elspeth in the circumstances.

“I also pay compliment to the love, care and affection shown by her parents in these terrible circumstances.”

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Barnsley NHS