£4.2 million compensation for brain-damaged women

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Indy Lifestyle Online

A woman has won £4.2m compensation for brain damage she received at birth.

A woman has won £4.2m compensation for brain damage she received at birth.

Donna Mills, 22, has cerebral palsy as a result of being delivered with her umbilical cord wrapped around her neck.

The High Court in Leeds heard clinicians failed to notice she was struggling for breath because of the cord when born at Manygates Hospital in Wakefield, West Yorkshire, in May 1978.

It was not until years later that it became obvious she had suffered lasting injury.

Mr Justice Harrison approved the settlement, which is thought to be the highest ever to anyone suffering such injuries at birth.

After the hearing, Miss Mills' solicitor Rachelle Mahapatra said her client was delighted and would be celebrating tonight at a disco.

"After court she shared a bottle of champagne with her barristers in the pub," she said.

"Donna is very independent and this money will mean the rest of her life will be as comfortable as possible."

Legal proceedings began in May 1989 and Wakefield Health Authority admitted liability to medical negligence in August 1992.

Keith Salsbury, chief executive of Wakefield Health Authority, said: "We are pleased that a final settlement has now been agreed. It will enable Donna and her carers to plan out their future without any financial worries.

"It has taken a long time to reach a conclusion and the clinicians involved are no longer with the trust. Great progress in clinical methods have been made since the late 1970s and procedures have been put in place to prevent this ever happening again."

Ms Mahapatra said Miss Mills' parents Susan and David, and her foster parents Martin and Mary Birkenshaw, who have helped look after her since she was four-years-old, were very emotional following today's court hearing.

"They are delighted that she will be looked after - that was their priority," she said.

Miss Mills, who is currently studying business studies at college, is now hoping to move into her own home.