A compensation claim, made on behalf of a boy who sustained severe birth injuries because of medical negligence, was approved by the High Court in Leeds earlier this week.
When Kit van Berckel was born at the Harrogate District Hospital on the 31st May 2008, he was ten days overdue. However, Kit was born with severe brain damage because of medical staff’s inability to correctly diagnose that Kit was suffering from foetal distress in the womb. When he was born, Kit had no heartbeat and needed to be resuscitated.
As he was deprived of oxygen, Kit’s brain damage was extensive and he has permanent disabilities. Kit, now seven, cannot sit up unassisted, needs help moving and cannot feed himself. Though he cannot communicate verbally, Kit is able to attend mainstream education because of hi-tech devices that enable him to use his eyes to communicate.
Kit – now aged seven – is a minor, so in order to claim compensation for his injuries he had to make a claim through his parents, Joanna and Charles Berckel. In the claim against the Harrogate Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, it was alleged that Kit’s present condition could have been avoided if it were not for the doctor’s negligence. An investigation into Kit’s birth ensued, after which the NHS Trust admitted full liability.
Negotiations began between the parties, and a £9.872 million was agreed upon. Though this is to cover Kit’s rehabilitation and care needs, he will continue to live with his family in their specially adapted home. The settlement needed to be approved by a judge before it was awarded, and it was approved in the Leeds High Court earlier this week.
Speaking after the announcement of the claim, Kit’s mother commented that “We were devastated and heartbroken when we found out that Kit’s condition could have been avoided if mistakes had not been made during his delivery. There needs to be a fundamental overhaul of accountability and management procedures to minimise the opportunity of negligence caused by medical staff.”