Lawyers representing a young woman who has developed a talent for music, despite suffering grave disabilities due to allegedly negligent medical treatment when she was a 10-year-old, have achieved an £8 million settlement of her claim against the NHS.
The woman was taken to hospital in 2003 after suffering prolonged headaches and vomiting. However, it was not until five months later that a CT scan revealed that she had a brain tumour. She underwent successful surgery but developed a serious post-operative infection and was left brain damaged.
The 21-year-old’s legal team sought damages on her behalf from two NHS hospital trusts, claiming that there had been a negligent delay in spotting and treating the infection and that the risk of her contracting the bug would have been drastically reduced had the tumour been diagnosed earlier.
The NHS Litigation Authority (NHSLA) agreed to a settlement of the woman’s case on the basis of 90 per cent liability. Under the terms of the compromise, the woman would receive a £1.9 million lump sum, plus index-linked and tax-free annual payments to cover the costs of her care for life. Those payments would start at £36,585 before rising in steps to £148,000 by the time she was in her mid-fifties.
The woman’s counsel praised her parents’ ‘total devotion and commitment’ in caring for her, describing them as ‘very special people indeed’. Although she would require care for life, she had become a talented musician, producing ambient classical music which she hoped would attract an Internet audience.
The NHSLA’s barrister made a public apology to the family, also paying tribute to the ‘sustained care and attention’ lavished on her by her parents. In approving the settlement – which was valued overall at about £8 million – the judge said the parents had ‘not only wished to do their best for their daughter, but had done so, contributing very greatly to her present state of health and welfare’.