Settlement of Claim for Brain Damage Caused by a Hospital Infection Approved in Court

The settlement of a claim for brain damage caused by a hospital infection has been approved at the Royal Court of Justice in favour of a thirteen-year-old girl.

Ayesha Canning-Kishver from Coventry in the West Midlands was born at Birmingham City Hospital in July 1999 thirteen weeks prematurely. Weighing only 1lb and 12 ounces, and suffering from mild periventricular leukomalcia, Ayesha was transferred to the special neonatal care unit within the hospital, where she seemed to be making a recovery from her condition over the following week.

However, while she was in the neonatal care unit, Ayesha contracted staphylocoous epidermidis and klebsiella – both hospital “superbugs which are caused by bacteria entering the body via the medical devices that were keeping Ayesha alive. Because of her illnesses Ayesha almost died, and she suffered brain damage while she was being resuscitated after being starved of oxygen.

Ayesha will now need around the clock care for the rest of her life; and, on her daughter´s behalf, Shahana Kishver made a compensation claim for brain damage caused by a hospital infection against the Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust – claiming that a breach in the hospital´s duty of care led to a delay in Ayesha´s symptoms being diagnosed and appropriate action taken.

The NHS Trust denied its liability for Ayesha´s injuries, and contested the claim for brain damage caused by a hospital infection – arguing that medical staff at the hospital were blameless for Ayesha contracting the superbugs and suffering brain damage, and that the injuries were attributable to Ayesha being born prematurely.

In 2008, a High Court hearing found that the NHS Trust was indeed liable for Ayesha´s injuries and the claim for brain damage caused by a hospital infection was adjourned so that reports could be compiled on Ayesha´s future needs.

At the Royal Court of Justice this week, Mr Justice Neil Butterfield heard that a settlement had been agreed upon that will see Ayesha receive a lump sum compensation payment of £1.3 million immediately, with annual tax-free and index-linked payments of £70,000 until Ayesha reaches the age of eighteen – when they will increase to today´s equivalent of £90,000.

After hearing an apology read to the family by a representative of Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospital NHS Trust, Judge Butterfield approved the settlement – commenting that “this should not be viewed as a lottery win – rather it will be used to fund the lifetime of care that Ayesha will need”.

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