London’s High Court have approved a compensation settlement for birth injuries sustained by an seven-year-old girl for £10 million.
In April 2007, Ayla Ellison was born at the Furness General Hospital in Cumbria. She was deprived of oxygen in utero, and during her delivery, Ayla was injured due to the negligence of the medical staff, which involved a haemorrhage in the womb.
Nearly eight years on, Ayla suffers from epilepsy, quadriplegic cerebral palsy and is effectively blind, leading her to be tube-fed. Ayla’s body cannot correctly regulate its own temperature and she suffers extremely painful muscle spasms. The pain can only be lessened by entering a hydrotherapy pool.
Through her father, Daniel, Ayla has made a claim for compensation against the Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust. The Trust conceded in 2012 that there was mismanagement of Ayla’s delivery, and subsequently negotiations began concerning how much compensation Ayla should be entitled to. A sum was settled upon, and as the claim was being made on behalf of a minor, the case went to the High Court in London where a judge would have to approve the figure, ensuring that it was in Ayla’s best interest.
The case was heard by Mr Justice Warby at the High Court, where an apology was read from David Walker, the medical director at the Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust. Judge Warby also heard that the family intended to move to London for Mr Ellison’s engineering job, and that part of the settlement included £1.7million for the family to buy a house with an existing hydrotherapy pool in Richmond. He stated that “I have no hesitation in accepting that the stated intention of Carla and Daniel Elliston to move to London to build a new family life there is a sincere, genuine and heartfelt one.”
The remainder of the settlement consisted of an immediate lump sum of £295,000 and annual, tax-free and index-linked payments of £225,000. There payments would be raised to £290,000 upon Ayla’s eighteenth birthday. Judge Warby approved the settlement, and commended Ayla’s parents for how they handled the tragedy with care and intelligence.