A teenager, who suffered catastrophic injuries after complications arose during his birth, has won a £4.5 million payout from the NHS.
Daniel Vertigan, 19, of Louth, was left wheelchair-dependent and in need of constant care after his mother endured life-threatening fits during his delivery at Lincoln County Hospital in 1994.
Through his father, Christopher, Daniel sued the NHS trust which runs the hospital, claiming mistakes were made during his mother’s labour and that they caused his injuries. The trust denied liability.
However, a top judge at London’s High Court today expressed admiration for Daniel’s family as she approved a compromise of the case - including a £1.3million lump sum and annual payments to fund the lifetime of care he will need.
Barrister, Timothy Ryder, for Daniel, told Mrs Justice Swift it was alleged that ‘the negligent mis-management’ of his delivery caused grave damage to his brain.
His mother had suffered potentially lethal eclamptic seizures after she was rushed to Lincoln County Hospital in May, 1994, in the run up to his Caesarian birth. Daniel, who endured respiratory distress sydrome and frightening fits as a baby, will always need 24-hour care.
His lawyers sued United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust, whose lawyers agreed to the settlement, without making any admission of liability.
Mr Ryder said that, on top of the £1.3million lump sum, the NHS Trust will pay index-linked and tax-free sums of £120,000 every year for the rest of Daniel’s life, to cover the enormous cost of his adapted accomodation, care and therapy.
The total settlement had been valued at £4.54 million, the court heard.
Michael de Navarro QC, for for the Trust, said: “We are delighted that this difficult litigation has been brought to an end.
“We hope that this settlement, while not representing 100 per cent of the full liability of the claim, nevertheless will assist both Daniel and his parents to have a better, more fulfilling and happy life in the future.”
Mrs Justice Swift said she was ‘happy’ to approve the settlement, “given the very difficult issues raised by this case”, adding: “I have no hesitation in finding it is in Daniel’s best interests.”
Paying tribute to Daniel’s family, the judge said: “I’m consumed with admiration at the devotion and care which the parents have given over a long period of 19 years and also at their coping, all on their own, with only such respite care as they have been able to obtain.”
The judge said she hoped the payout would relieve the family’s burden and enable the parents to enjoy the remaining years of their younger son’s childhood. She concluded: “Naturally, I wish all the family all the very best for the future.”
Rachel Abba, chartered legal executive at Bridge McFarland, the firm which represented the family during the litigation, said: “We at Bridge McFarland, along with Daniel’s family, are pleased that the litigation concerning his very complex medical negligence claim has now settled in his favour. We are also grateful to Mrs Justice Swift for the sentiments she expressed to the family at yesterday’s hearing which fully concur with our own.
“The family would request, however, that they are now allowed their privacy to take stock of their current situation and move forward accordingly.”