Hospital trust to pay out millions due to birth errors

St Mary's Community Health Campus - formerly St Mary's Hospital. ''Picture: Paul Jacobs (120303-5)
St Mary's Community Health Campus - formerly St Mary's Hospital. ''Picture: Paul Jacobs (120303-5)

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A MULTI-million pound settlement will be paid by a hospital trust, after birthing complications left a 15-year-old boy with disabilities.

A High Court judge approved a settlement for Nathan Harper, 15, who lives in the Portsmouth area.

He has cerebral palsy, severe speech difficulties and learning difficulties because of a delay in his delivery in 1997.

Medical errors during his birth at the former St Mary’s Hospital, in Milton Road, Milton, Portsmouth, which was run by Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust, led to the problems.

Nathan suffered brain damage as his mother Karen experienced a difficult and lengthy labour, and both sides agreed delivery was delayed.

Through his mother, Nathan sued PHT, which initially denied liability before a settlement was agreed.

Karen said: ‘While no amount of money can truly compensate my son for the impact of these injuries on his quality of life, the settlement will allow us to plan for the future with confidence that Nathan will always get the care he deserves.

‘This has been a difficult time for the family and we are glad the matter has been settled.

‘Our legal team at Blake Lapthorn has secured an interim payment so they can support and advise us as we begin to provide the care Nathan needs while the final compensation is being assessed.’

The money will be paid into court for Nathan’s benefit and will be distributed so it lasts throughout his lifetime.

Nathan’s injuries mean he will never lead an independent life and is unlikely to earn his own living.

Although Nathan has made significant progress since birth, he has speech difficulties and can only walk short distances before he has to use a wheelchair.

Sue Jarvis, a partner at Blake Lapthorn who heads the cerebral palsy team, said: ‘I’m delighted with the outcome, which was protracted because of technical difficulties and where the trust denied liability until less than a month before trial.

‘He has received loving support and made considerable progress since his birth and has a normal life expectancy.’