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Boy awarded £7.1m after hospital blunder
A YOUNG boy left brain-damaged at birth following a medical blunder at Oxford’s John Radcliffe Hospital was yesterday awarded £7.1m in compensation.
Harry Snowdon, 10, from, Witney, who has a “great zest for life”, was left with no appreciation of danger, suffers violent temper tantrums and will need around-the-clock care for the rest of his life after being starved of oxygen at birth.
A hearing at London’s Royal Courts of Justice yesterday heard how his birth in February 1999 had been unnecessarily delayed despite signs of foetal distress.
His mother, Debra Snowdon, was given excessive doses of Syntocinon — a drug used to induce labour — and there had been a “general failure” to monitor her condition, the court heard.
Oxford Radcliffe Hospitals NHS Trust accepted liability.
The payout is one of the biggest involving the ORH Trust.
Last year, £13.3m was paid out for cases of clinical negligence involving the trust — almost double the £7.2m paid out in 2007.
Barrister Edward Faulks QC, representing Harry and his parents Debra and Mark, said the boy had a normal life expectancy, but would never work.
The court heard how — despite being a “handsome and engaging little boy with a great zest for life” — Harry was aware of the differences between himself and his peers, and his limitations.
The settlement includes a £2.3m lump sum and annual payments — starting at £75,000 and rising to £165,000 when he reaches the age of 19 — for life.
The compensation will be settled by the NHS Litigation Authority, not the ORH Trust.
Mr Justice Holroyde said Harry's disabilities were down to “the negligence of the defendants’ medical and nursing staff in the management of his birth”.
After the hearing, mother-of-two Mrs Snowdon said: “We have pursued this claim to ensure Harry is looked after and taken care of for the rest of his life.
“We are relieved the settlement has eventually been agreed and we will not have to worry about what will happen to him when we are no longer around.
“Caring for Harry is both challenging, but also extremely rewarding, but we would have liked to have had the opportunity to see him grow up as a normal boy.
“We sincerely hope the health service will start to take note of their mistakes and instead of paying out millions in negligence claims, ensure sufficient numbers of suitably trained staff are available to stop these types of accidents occurring in the future.”
Trust spokesman Laura Carpenter said: “The trust is deeply sorry for any distress caused to Harry and his family following his injury and hopes the settlement will assist Harry in achieving his full potential.
“The trust would like to wish him and his family well for the future.”
The trust declined to say whether the medical staff involved in Harry’s case would face disciplinary action.