A hospital trust has been ordered to pay GBP 8 million in compensation to a nine-year-old boy who was left severely disabled after medical staff made errors during his birth.
Owen Johnson, from Dudley, West Midlands, sustained brain damage during his birth at Wordsley Hospital, Dudley, on 18 April 1999, after he was temporarily deprived of oxygen.
He now suffers from choreoathetoid cerebral palsy, which means he is unable to dress or feed himself properly, and he also has problems with balance and mobility.
Dudley Group of Hospitals NHS Trust accepted that failures were made during the delivery and admitted that an obstetrician was not called to examine an abnormal indication of fetal distress.
The payout, believed to be one of the largest of its kind in the UK, will take care of Owen’s long-term needs. It includes a lump sum payment of GBP 2 million, to be followed by annual payments.
His mother, Sally Johnson, welcomed the court’s decision. “I am relieved that today’s settlement will mean that Owen can be cared for in the way he needs, for the rest of his life,” she said.
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“This payout is not high enough! No payment can fully compensate for this lad’s reliance on others and the lack of dignity for the rest of his life. We should also think of his parents, siblings, grandparents and other relatives who will undergo great suffering because of this unforgivable lack of care.” – Colin Allen, Norfolk, UK
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