A 13 year old girl, who sustained brain damage after her premature birth due to a hospital “superbug”, has been awarded a compensation package worth in excess of 8 million pounds at the Royal Court of Justice in London.
The court heard how Ayesha Canning-Kishver from Coventry, West Midlands, was delivered at 25 weeks and 3 days at Birmingham City Hospital in July 1997. Being only 1lb and 12 ounces, and suffering from mild periventricular leukomalcia, she was immediately transferred to a special neonatal care unit where she appeared to improve over the following seven days.
However, Ayesha contracted a double infection of staphylococcus epidermidis and klebsiella due to bacteria associated with medical devices – such as indwelling catheters – and almost died. The resuscitation process lead to Ayesha sustaining brain damage, and she will require around the clock care for the rest of her life.
The claim of medical negligence was brought against Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust by Ayesha’s mother, Shahana Kishver, on the grounds that a breach in the hospital’s duty of care led to delay in the infections being diagnosed and treated.
Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust had initially denied the claim, stating that their staff were blameless and Ayesha’s condition was due to her premature birth. However, a High Court hearing in 2008 found Birmingham City Hospital liable.
Announcing the compensation package at the Royal Court of Justice, the Honourable Mr. Justice Neil Butterfield stated that “This should not be viewed as a ‘lottery win’ – rather it will be used to fund the lifetime of care which Ayesha will need.”
Ayesha’s compensation package consists of an immediate lump sum payment of 1.3 million pounds, with annual payments of 70,000 pounds a year until Ayesha reaches the age of 18, with payments increasing thereafter to 90,000 pounds a year for the rest of her life.
In response to the settlement, the Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust commented that they regretted the delay to respond to Ayesha’s symptoms.