On 29 January 2015, the High Court approved terms of settlement in the claim commenced by an eight year old girl, PXW against the Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Trust. She sustained severe brain injuries as a result of a prolonged period during which she was starved of oxygen during her birth at St Richard’s Hospital in Chichester in 2006.
PXW has since been diagnosed with spastic/dystonic cerebral palsy. She suffers severe disabilities, including impairment of gross and fine motor skills, developmental delay, inability to sit unaided, inability to feed herself, severe learning difficulties, impairment of verbal communication, epileptic seizures and severe visual impairment.
Liability for PXW’s injuries and brain damage was admitted by the defendant, the Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Trust, and, following this admission, Penningtons Manches, the lawyers acting on behalf of PXW, took steps to quantify the claim. The parties agreed terms of settlement in the form of a lump sum payment and periodical payments to be made annually for the rest of PXW’s life. These terms of settlement have now been approved by the court.
Following the court’s approval of the settlement, the family said: “Although it has been a seven year rollercoaster battle to succeed with our daughter’s negligence claim, our priority has always been to secure her future care for when we are no longer able or here to look after her and to ensure that her life is as fulfilling as possible.
“The compensation she has received will be carefully managed by The Court of Protection and us to provide her with a fully adapted home to include accommodation for her carers. The compensation will also provide her with specialist wheelchairs, equipment, communication systems, therapies and transport throughout her life.
“Looking after a child with complex disabilities is an incredibly tough 24/7 job that affects the whole family, including siblings, and so our daughter’s annual periodical payments will help pay for the carers she will require for the rest of her life.
“Our daughter’s early years were incredibly hard due to her constant crying and sleepless nights. She is now a delightful little girl who shows great tenacity and she is doing extremely well at her special school for children with cerebral palsy, which she loves. We are very proud of her.
“We sincerely hope that procedures have been put in place at St Richard’s Hospital to ensure that other children do not have to suffer like our daughter.”
Alison Appelboam-Meadows, partner in the clinical negligence team at Penningtons Manches LLP, said: "I am delighted that we have been able to settle this claim for both PXW and the family. No amount of money can ever give her the life she would have had if she had not suffered such serious injuries at the time of her birth. However, now that a settlement has been agreed between the parties and approved by the court, she can be provided with the care, equipment and therapies that she needs to maximise her potential."