Medical Negligence News

Settlement of Compensation for Failing to Act During Birth Emergency Approved by High Court

Posted on: June 18th, 2014 by Medical Negligence

The High Court has approved a settlement of compensation for failing to act during a birth emergency which will provide a lifetime of support for a boy permanently disabled due to medical negligence.

Toby Hart was born at the Friarage Hospital in Northallerton in October 2006, twenty-five minutes after an abnormal heartbeat reading was recorded by medical staff at the hospital. Due to midwives failing to act when the foetus was in distress, Toby´s brain was starved of oxygen and he was born suffering from cerebral palsy and epilepsy. Toby (now seven years of age) needs 24-hour care as he is registered blind and has learning difficulties.

Through his parents – Michelle and Matthew Hart – Toby claimed compensation for failing to act during a birth emergency against the South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and, after the NHS Trust had acknowledged that mistakes had been made at Toby´s birth, the Hart´s started to receive interim payments of compensation for failing to act during a birth emergency.

A final settlement was recently agreed, in which the Hart´s would receive a lump sum payment of £2 million, with annual index-linked payments of almost £500,000 each year to ensure Toby was financially supported and would receive an appropriate level of care for the rest of his life. However, before the Hart´s compensation claim could be completely resolved, the compensation had to be approved by a judge as it was made on behalf of a minor.

Consequently, at the High Court in London, Mrs Justice Nicola Davies was told of the circumstances which led to Toby´s birth injuries and the details of the compensation package. The judge approved the settlement after an apology was read out to the Hart family by a representative of the South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

In the apology, the spokeswoman for the Trust said no amount of money could compensate fully for the mistakes that were made at the time of Toby´s birth, but it was hoped that the settlement of compensation for failing to act during a birth emergency would give the Hart family financial security and provide for Toby’s care requirements now and in the future.