Boy wins pounds 3m over brain damage

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The Independent Online
A 12-YEAR-OLD boy who needs round-the-clock care after suffering severe brain damage at birth has been awarded pounds 3.25m in damages at the High Court in London.

The award to David Reynolds, who has difficulty moving and communicating because of cerebral palsy, is one of the highest payouts made for medical negligence in Britain. David was born in a forceps delivery at Poole General Hospital in Dorset in May 1986 after the second stage of labour had been "prolonged for far too long a period", said his counsel, Christopher Purchas QC.

He did not breathe at all for the first 18 minutes of his life and had no heartbeat for the first eight minutes.

The agreed damages award was against East Dorset Health Authority, which also agreed to pay legal costs and pounds 27,500 in compensation to David's mother, Susan Reynolds, 44, for internal injuries she suffered during the delivery.

The judge agreed that pounds 200,000 of David's award should go to his parents for their past care after Mr Purchas told the court that Mrs Reynolds and her husband, Jeremy, had provided everything for David, including his education, in what was a "huge feat of devotion".

David, of Billingshurst, West Sussex, will now attend a school capable of catering for his special needs.

His award follows a record pounds 3.9m payout this month to a 17-year-old girl who was brain damaged during a routine operation to remove a birthmark.

Helen Edwards, from Suffolk, has needed 24-hour care since her heart stopped during surgery when she was five. In October, Dyfed Health Authority agreed to pay pounds 3.28m in damages to an 11-year-old boy who was also severely brain-damaged at birth.

Sam Mansell, of Milford Haven, Pembrokeshire, was left with a form of cerebral palsy after being starved of oxygen when errors were made during his delivery in hospital.

In July a nine-year-old girl left severely disabled by a hospital blunder at birth was the first child in the country to benefit from a House of Lords ruling which vastly increased levels of compensation for personal injury.

Catherine Montali, from Trentham, Stoke-on-Trent, won pounds 1.5m damages in the landmark case. Earlier this year a nine-year-old boy who was brain damaged during his birth at a Birmingham hospital won pounds 650,000 compensation.

Tufal Ali was left with cerebral palsy and paralysis after his delivery in 1989. His mother, Champa Khanom, had claimed almost pounds 1m damages from Birmingham Health Authority, alleging that the delivery of her child was negligently managed. But the health authority denied liability, and Mrs Khanom agreed the settlement out of court.