Judge praises boy awarded £1.5m

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A brave, bright and cheerful 14-year-old boy, severely disabled since birth because of a hospital blunder, yesterday received £1,425,000 damages - and high praise from a judge.

During the hearing the High Court heard how James Harrison had fought his terrible physical disabilities with cheerful persistence and good humour.

Concluding the court procedures Mr Justice McKinnon said: "I would like to congratulate him on his strength and determination.'' He also praised James's parents, Julian and Denise Harrison, who had been "nothing less than marvellous" in caring for their son.

The agreed damages were paid by Wolverhampton Health Authority and West Midlands Regional Health Authority, which were responsible for New Cross Hospital, Wolverhampton, where James was born by emergency Caesarean section on 24 June 1980.

James's counsel, Malcolm Knott, said his birth was "mismanaged". His mother was neglected during labour, the umbilical cord prolapsed and James suffered oxygen starvation, resulting in cerebral palsy.

Due to the brain damage caused by the operation, James would never be able to control his limbs properly or speak normally.He would probably never find work - jobs for the severely disabled were in short supply and much sought after.