Alder Hey NHS Trust must pay boy £27m over brain injuries

A boy who suffered “catastrophic brain injuries” when doctors failed to see he had a virus and sent him home after he had a seizure has been awarded £27m.

The boy, who cannot be identified but is now 13, suffered seizures as a toddler more than a decade ago.

Details of the settlement between the boy’s father and Liverpool’s Alder Hey Children’s NHS Foundation Trust were published in a written ruling.

High Court judge Mr Justice Fordham said it was a “sensible settlement”.

Trust bosses admitted “breach of duty” and “causation of loss and damage”, the judge said.

The judgment, from the hearing in Manchester, said the boy had suffered a seizure at 17 months old on 19 September 2009 and was taken to Alder Hey Children’s Hospital.

He suffered a second seizure in the accident and emergency department which was seen by medical staff.

The boy was sent home and, despite going back to hospital, was not diagnosed with a virus until 24 September.

“I have learned about how mum and dad came to operate, like a ‘tag team’,
so that one of them was with [the boy] at all times.”

‘Breach of duty’

“He sustained catastrophic brain injuries, leading to profound impairments and intractable epilepsy,” said the judge.

“Subsequently, the defendant admitted breach of duty.

“Subject to one contested point, the defendant also admitted causation of loss and damage.”

Mr Justice Fordham said the trust’s case was the boy would always have suffered a “mild residual cognitive deficit and epilepsy in any event” and causation was “still in dispute”.

The judge said the boy now had “very significant care needs” and would need 24/7 help from carers for life, plus modified accommodation, along with specialist medical therapies and equipment.

Under the settlement the boy will get a lump sum, plus periodical payments throughout his life, with the “overall capitalised value” of the award being worth about £27.3m, the judge said.

Evidence showed the boy had been a “healthy toddler” who was developing normally, the judgement said.

The judge said he had read about how the world of “each of the members of the family” had been “turned upside down”.

“I have learned about how mum and dad came to operate, like a ‘tag team’, so that one of them was with [the boy] at all times.”

He said lawyers had told him “how mum and dad had to cope with these most traumatic events” and had responded by meeting their son’s needs by themselves.

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