A girl has been awarded compensation for mistakes made by a hospital at her birth which left her deprived of oxygen and due to which she now suffers from athetoid cerebral palsy.
The High Court in Leeds heard how Ruby Curtis from Garforth in West Yorkshire was born at St James Hospital in Leeds on 28th August 2005, having been deprived of oxygen in the womb due to the failure of medical staff to notice that her mother´s uterus had ruptured after medication had been given to her to aid the contractions.
Ruby´s delayed birth led to her suffering from athetoid cerebral palsy – a form of cerebral palsy in which Ruby makes involuntary muscle movements and is unable to speak coherently. Confined to a wheelchair, Ruby has learned to communicate with her eyes and now attends the specialist Percy Hedley School near Newcastle.
After an investigation into how Ruby acquired her condition, her parents – Steve and Lisa Curtis – made a claim for compensation for the mistakes made by the hospital at her birth on Ruby´s behalf; however the Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust only admitted that they were “majority responsible” after an eight year legal battle.
A compensation settlement was negotiated between the NHS Trust and The Curtis´ solicitors that will see Ruby provided for the rest of her life. She is to receive a lump sum of £2.95 million immediately, with ongoing annual payments of compensation for mistakes made by the hospital at her birth.
An apology was read out in court by a representative of the Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, which acknowledged that avoidable mistakes had been made at the time of Ruby´s birth. Judge Mark Gosnell at the High Court said that he hoped the apology would give Steve and Lisa Curtis “some sense of closure” before approving Ruby´s settlement of compensation for mistakes made by a hospital at her birth, which will now be administered by the Court of Protection.