Babies are very vulnerable in their first few days of life and, if things go wrong because of negligence on the part of medical personnel, it is only right that compensation is payable. In one case on point, the family of a 15-year-old girl who was struck down by a devastating infection when she was just a few days old has secured a multi-million-pound settlement of her claim against the NHS.
The baby girl had been discharged from hospital following her birth but fell gravely ill at home. Her mother claimed that she phoned the hospital twice during the night and was advised to give her water. By the time a community midwife attended the family home the following day, the girl was very sick indeed and she was rushed back to the hospital.
A group B streptococcus infection was diagnosed, but treatment with antibiotics came too late to save her from severe brain damage that has left her facing a lifetime of serious disability. The family argued that she should have been readmitted to hospital earlier and that there had subsequently been a negligent delay in treating her.
The NHS trust that ran the hospital denied liability for the girl's injuries but, following negotiations, agreed to settle her claim for a lump sum of £3.5 million. In approving the compromise, the High Court paid tribute to the girl's family for the very considerable care they have given her. The settlement will provide certainty for the future and the Court had no hesitation in approving it.