Judge Approves Settlement of Compensation for Midwife Malpractice

A High Court judge has approved a settlement of compensation for midwife malpractice in favour of a seven-year-old boy who was born severely disabled after nurses failed to act on an abnormal heartbeat.

Toby Hart from Bedale in North Yorkshire was born at the Friarage Hospital in Northallerton twenty-five minutes after an abnormal heartbeat reading was recorded. Due to the avoidable delay, Toby´s brain was starved of oxygen and he was born severely disabled – subsequently being diagnosed with cerebral palsy and epilepsy.

Toby needs around-the-clock care as he has learning difficulties and is registered blind; and, after trying to support their son with what means they had available, Toby´s parents – Michelle and Matthew Hart – claimed compensation for midwife malpractice against the South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust in order that Toby could get the care and support he needed.

Once the South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust acknowledged that errors had been made at Toby´s birth, the Hart´s started to receive interim payments of compensation for midwife malpractice until a final settlement was negotiated and, at the High Court in London, Mrs Justice Nicola Davies was given detail of the compensation package – which consists of a £2 million lump sum, with annual index-linked payments approaching £500,000 thereafter.

At the High Court, the family also heard an apology read to them by a representative of the NHS Foundation Trust. The spokeswoman said that no amount of money can adequately compensate for the circumstances which resulted in Toby´s injury, but it was hoped that the settlement of compensation for midwife malpractice would give the family some financial security and provide for Toby’s needs now and in the future.

Mrs Justice Nicola Davies approved the compensation package, adding “I know nothing can turn the clock back”.