Compensation awards made to gravely injured victims of clinical negligence often run well into seven figures – but they are no more than is needed when ever-rising care costs and life expectancies are taken into account. In one recent case, the High Court approved interim payments totalling £1.35 million to a 14-year-old boy whose final payout is expected to be several times that sum.
An NHS trust had admitted full liability for its failure to treat the boy's low blood sugar levels appropriately in the neo-natal period. He suffers from cerebral palsy as a result and his mobility and intellectual abilities are seriously impaired. He will require professional care for the rest of his life – at an annual cost exceeding £85,000 – and has a near-normal life expectancy.
A hearing to assess the full amount of his damages was still some months away, but he and his mother had a pressing need to move to a more suitable home that could be adapted to meet his needs. In the circumstances, the Court sanctioned an immediate £1.1 million payment pending a final resolution of his claim. The NHS trust had also made an earlier interim payment of £250,000.