Medical negligence is known for the unprecedented impacts it has on patients, which can affect them for the rest of their lives. For a girl born at Hull Royal Infirmary at the turn of the century, this negligence during her birth has left her severely disabled. As a result, she received £850,000 worth of medical negligence compensation.
The impact of medical negligence
It wasn’t until the girl was two and a half years old that she was diagnosed, but the effects of this medical negligence means that she won’t know a life without this disability. Having undergone various surgical procedures already, doctors have claimed that she will need further procedures throughout her life, and that it may get worse in the future.
Her barrister, Simon Kilvington QC, noted during legal proceedings how she has one leg shorter than the other, and she will need at least one more hip operation. For much of her life thus far, she has been resigned to using a wheelchair; something which is not expected to change in the coming years. It is impossible to comprehend the impact medical negligence has causes in this case- for both the girl and her family.
When these repeated surgeries are considered, it’s easy to believe that this £850,000 cannot make up for the distress and pain the girl has gone through over the years. This makes it difficult to comprehend that the Hull and East Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust initially valued her claim at only £180,000. Luckily, her lawyers had gone on to aim for as much as £4.6 million during the course of legal proceedings, settling for £850,000 in court.
In his justification of the payout, the judge went on to say that ‘No sum of money can properly put right what went wrong at the time of her birth’. This is a sentiment that many inside and outside the courtroom shared.
Certainly, for the teenager and her family, this case was not just about the money. It served as a vital point of closure, where despite the years of pain and surgery to come, someone has finally claimed responsibility for the problems caused. The Hull and East Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust went on to admit full responsibility for the claims, after lawyers proved it was not something that could be denied.
This headline-grabbing story is only the latest in a long line of medical negligence claims made against the NHS. Just last year, another teenager received a record payout of £19.8 million due to a brain injury causes by medical negligence. Though a respected and important institution, it is hoped that claims like these will go a long way to assessing the root of this country-wide problem.
Yet, when contacted for comments, the Hull University Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust has since declined to interact further. While it may wish to move on from the unpleasant aftermath of the girl’s birth, it’s safe to say that this brave teenager has some struggles still left to face.