The High Court in London has approved a packaged settlement of compensation for birth injuries – with an estimated value of £10 million – in favour of an eight-year-old girl.
Ayla Ellison was born at the Furness General Hospital in Cumbria in April 2007 after having been starved of oxygen in the womb. During her emergency delivery, Ayla suffered further injuries due to medical negligence including a severe haemorrhage in the womb.
Now seven years of age, Ayla has severe quadriplegic cerebral palsy, epilepsy and has to be fed by a tube because she is effectively blind. Ayla´s body is incapable of controlling its body temperature, and she suffers muscle spasms that leave her in intense pain that can only be alleviated by immersion in a hydrotherapy pool.
On Ayla´s behalf, her father – Daniel – made a claim for birth injuries compensation against the Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust who, in 2012, acknowledged the mismanagement of Ayla´s delivery. Talks commenced about how much compensation for birth injuries Ayla was entitled to and, when an agreement was reached, the case went to the High Court in London for the settlement to be approved.
At the High Court, Mr Justice Warby heard an apology read to the family from the medical director of the Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust – David Walker. Mr Walker said that the Trust was sorry for the harm caused to Ayla and the distress caused to her family as a result of issues arising from her birth.
The judge also heard that the family was moving to London for Daniel Ellison´s job as a consultant engineer, and that part of the settlement included £1.7 million for the family to buy a home with a hydrotherapy pool in Richmond. The judge said “I have no hesitation in accepting that the stated intention of Carla and Daniel Elliston to move to London to build a new family life there is a sincere, genuine and heartfelt one.”
Mr Justice Warby was told that the remainder of the settlement included an immediate lump sum payment of £295,000 and annual tax-free, index-linked payments of £225,000 – rising to £290,000 when Ayla turns eighteen. The judge approved the settlement – estimated to have a total value of £10 million – commending Daniel and Carla Ellison for the “calm and intelligent” way in which they had dealt with the tragedy.