A young boy, who with his sister suffered irreversible brain damage when they were born, has been awarded 2 million pounds in compensation in the High Court.
Thomas Hartley (now 11 years old) of Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire, was born with his twin sister, Rachel, at the Hemel Hempstead Hospital in October 1999. However, due to alleged negligence by the hospital staff, both children are now confined to a wheelchair whenever they go out and will need one permanently once they reach full adulthood.
Judge Peter Ralls QC in the High Court heard that the twins’ mother, Joanna, had been admitted to the hospital earlier in October with pregnancy complications, but doctors failed to realise that she was giving birth prematurely. Instead, they prescribed her with drugs to strengthen the babies’ lungs and delayed the birth.
The parents claimed in their court action that this oversight caused the children to suffer brain damage while in the womb – damage which lead to both children suffering from spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy and which could have been avoided had the correct diagnosis been made.
The West Hertfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust on behalf of Hemel Hempstead Hospital denied that the children’s’ conditions resulted from any negligence on its part, but agreed to pay £2m in compensation to Thomas, and a yet-to-be-agreed sum to his sister – both amounts to into a trust to cover the costs of the lifetime care and support they will need.
Approving the settlements, Judge Peter Ralls QC commented “I express my sympathy to Mr and Mrs Hartley who have been through what must have been a very anxious time… I wish you well for the future, and for your delightful children.”