Compensation in clinical negligence cases can enable families to remain together and provide a better quality of life for even the most severely injured. That was certainly so in one case in which solicitors representing a woman in a persistent vegetative state secured sufficient damages to reunite her with her loved ones in a home of her own.
The woman was suffering from blurred vision and headaches when she went to a hospital A&E department. A cyst on her brain was diagnosed and, after an attempt to surgically remove it failed, a shunt was fitted to drain fluid from her skull. About two years later, the shunt malfunctioned and an attempt to repair it was unsuccessful. A build-up of pressure caused catastrophic brain damage and left her in a minimally conscious state.
The NHS trust involved denied liability for her injuries but agreed to pay her a £1.4 million lump sum after her lawyers negotiated a settlement of the case. The trust also agreed to pay £270,000 per year, index-linked, to cover the costs of her care for life.
In approving the settlement, the High Court noted that it would enable the family to purchase a new home and adapt it to meet her needs. With a professional care regime in place, she would be able to move out of institutional care and spend her remaining years with her parents and daughter.