A thirteen year old boy, who developed cerebral palsy due to an alleged case of medical negligence, has been awarded £7.3 million compensation for NHS brain injury in an out-of-court settlement.
Robbie Crane (13) from Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire, suffered brain damage resulting in cerebral palsy, learning difficulties, behavioural problems and epilepsy following surgery at Harefield Hospital in October 1999 to treat the congenital heart problems he was born with several days earlier.
Mr Justice Tugendhat at the High Court in London heard that the complicated artery ‘switch’ surgery was successful, but Robbie suffered brain damage in a 15-hour period after the operation because a ventilator keeping him alive had not been adjusted properly. Robbie’s injuries mean he will never lead an independent life or earn his own living. He has no sense of danger and needs intensive supervision at all times.
Through his parents – Barrie and Catherine Crane – Robbie made a claim for NHS brain injury against the Royal Brompton and Harefield NHS Trust, alleging that his condition was a direct result of medical negligence. The NHS Trust denied liability for his injuries, but made an offer of compensation for NHS brain injury based on 70 percent of what Robbie would have received in full settlement of his claim.
Under the out-of-court settlement, Robbie will receive a substantial lump sum immediately as well as annual, index-linked and tax-free payments to cover the costs of his care for as long as he lives. With his anticipated life expectancy, the total compensation for NHS brain injury package is valued at £7.3 million.
Although Robbie´s settlement was agreed “out-of-court”, the award still had to be approved by a judge as it related to a legal minor. After hearing the circumstances of the case and the NHS Trust´s legal representatives acknowledge that “things could have been done differently and better”, Mr Justice Tugendhat approved the settlement of compensation for NHS Brain injury – paying tribute to Robbie´s parents for the devotion they had given their son.