Child Awarded Compensation for Hospital Failing to Follow Procedures

A child has been awarded compensation for a hospital failing to follow its own procedures after a hearing at the High Court in London

Ellie Sutton from Witham in Essex was just eight months old when she was taken to Colchester Hospital by her mother – Sarah – with a temperature of 39.9 degrees. Although hospital procedures stated that any young child with a temperature higher than 38 degrees should be monitored hourly, Ellie was discharged from the hospital with her mother being told to return if her daughter´s temperature remained high.

Sarah returned to the hospital later that day, and after Ellie was examined by a doctor in the Emergency Department, she was admitted to hospital with the recommendation that her condition be investigated without delay. However, a review of Ellie´s condition was not conducted until eleven hours later; by which time she had suffered brain damage due to meningitis which resulted in Ellie requiring around the clock care ever since.

After taking advice from a solicitor, Sarah made a claim for compensation against the hospital for failing to follow procedures which would have prevented Ellie from sustaining such a traumatic injury. After an internal investigation, Colchester Hospital University NHS Foundation Trust acknowledged that there had been a breach of their procedures, and admitted that had Ellie been treated appropriately when Sarah first brought her to the hospital, she would have made a full recovery.

At the High Court in London, the Sutton family heard an apology read to them by representatives from the Colchester Hospital University NHS Foundation Trust for the mistakes that were made in Ellie´s care. Judge Anthony Seys-Llewellyn was told that a settlement of compensation for the hospital failing to follow procedures had been agreed with the family which consisted of a £2.4 million lump sum and tax-free index-linked annual payments of £119,000.

The judge approved the settlement, extending his sympathies to the family and saying “In a way this is the most painful day for you, because you have been thinking about what was intended to be”.