Settlement of Compensation for the Failure to Administer Vitamin K Approved in Court

A settlement of compensation for the failure to administer Vitamin K at birth – calculated to be worth £7.38 million – has been approved in the High Court.

The claimant, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was born at the Luton and Dunstable Hospital in 1989 with a low level of Vitamin K – a usually naturally occurring vitamin that the body needs to accelerate blood coagulation and bind calcium in bones and other tissues.

At the time of his birth, it was mandatory for a Vitamin K injection to be administered in these circumstances; but, as neither the midwife nor attending doctor had a dose with them, the decision was made not to administer the injection without any discussion with the child´s mother about the associated risks.

Three months later the boy was readmitted to Luton and Dunstable Hospital after developing a cold-like illness with a high-pitched cry. The boy was not feeding well and had also developed a squint. He underwent several tests before being transferred to Great Ormond Street Hospital, where it was discovered he had suffered a brain haemorrhage and acute hydrocephalus.

The injuries were irreversible, and the claimant grew up with numerous physical and cognitive disabilities. He now requires twenty-four hour care and, in order that his long-term security was assured, his parents made a claim for compensation for the failure to administer Vitamin K at birth against the Secretary of State for Health.

Through the NHS, liability for the claimant´s injuries was admitted and a settlement of compensation for the failure to administer Vitamin K at birth was worked out with the NHS Litigation Authority. At the Royal Courts of Justice in London, Judge Michael Yelton was told that the settlement comprised of a lump sum payment of £2.345 million, with further index-linked payment being made annually.

The judge approved the settlement of compensation for the failure to administer Vitamin K at birth, which will give the claimant access to a range of specialist support, including ensuring he can live in specially adapted accommodation and benefit from the around-the-clock care he requires.