Medical Negligence News

Settlement of Compensation for Hospital Errors Approved in Court

Posted on: September 25th, 2013 by Medical Negligence

A settlement of compensation for hospital errors which led to a girl being deprived of oxygen before her birth and sustaining brain damage has been approved at the High Court in Leeds.

Ruby Curtis (8) from Garforth in West Yorkshire was born with athetoid cerebral palsy at St James Hospital in Leeds in August 2005 after having been deprived of oxygen prior to her birth due to nursing staff at the hospital failing to notice that her mother´s uterus had ruptured.

Although she has learned to communicate using her eyes and now attends the Percy Hedley School near Newcastle, for the first eight years of her life Ruby was cared for by her mother as she was unable to walk or speak and suffers from involuntary muscle contractions which affect her head, body and all four limbs.

Having sought legal advice, Ruby´s parents – Steve and Lisa Curtis – made a claim for compensation for hospital errors on Ruby´s behalf against St James Hospital and the Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust. The NHS Trust initially denied their liability for Ruby´s birth injury but, after a long legal battle, conceded that mistakes had been made in the management of Ruby´s delivery and that they had “majority responsibility” for her avoidable injury.

A settlement of compensation for hospital errors was agreed between the NHS Trust and solicitors representing the Curtis family and – via the Court of protection – Ruby will receive a lump sum payment of £2.95 million, with further annual payments of compensation being made each year to provide for her ongoing care.

At the High Court in Leeds, Judge Mark Gosnell and the Curtis family heard an apology being read by a representative from the NHS Trust which, the judge hoped, would give the family a “sense of closure”. Thereafter he approved the settlement of compensation for hospital errors and told Steve and Lisa Curtis that the compensation should provide “a better family life for both you and Ruby”.