A compensation claim against Kings College Hospital made on behalf of a girl who was starved of oxygen at birth has been resolved at the High Court in London.
Eva Totham from South-East London was born at the Kings College Hospital in October 2007 after having been starved of oxygen in the womb. As a result of the medical staff´s negligence, Eva (now seven years of age) suffers from cerebral palsy which affects all four of her limbs and is unable to speak.
Although able to attend a mainstream school with one-to-one support, Eva suffers from dramatic moods swings brought about by her frustration at not being able to communicate. These mood swings affect her learning and have a disruptive influence on family life.
Eva´s parents made a compensation claim against the Kings College Hospital NHS Trust who, after an investigation into the events of Eva´s birth, acknowledged a failing in the established standard of care prior to Eva´s delivery.
However, the NHS Trust disputed how much compensation was being claimed by the family for Eva´s pain and suffering and the loss of enjoyment of her life in the future. The NHS Trust set a cap of £8.7 million and the compensation claim against Kings College Hospital proceeded to the High Court.
At the hearing, Mrs Justice Elisabeth Laing was shown a DVD of a day in Eva´s life. She also heard how Eva´s parents – Sarah and Dean – were successful professionals and it was highly likely that Eva would have gone to university and followed a professional career.
In court Eva was described as a beautiful, engaging child; and Judge Laing agreed with this appraisal – writing in her ruling that “I had a strong sense of an energetic, inquisitive mind trapped in a body that will not do what Eva would wish it could do.”
The judge awarded Eva £10.1 million in settlement of her compensation claim against Kings College Hospital, which will cover the costs of her past and future care and compensate Eva for her future loss of earnings.