Boy, aged six, gets payout after hospital admits error

Kit van Berckel
Kit van Berckel
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A BOY, aged six, who suffered a catastrophic brain injury when he was born and was later diagnosed with cerebral palsy has been awarded a multi-million pound care package after hospital bosses admitted failings in his care.

During Kit van Berckel’s birth staff at Harrogate District Hospital failed to recognise he was in distress and did not correctly interpret scans monitoring the baby’s heart rate and as a result Kit was born with no heartbeat and needed resuscitating.

Kit suffered a significant brain injury and soon after his birth, he was diagnosed with dyskinetic cerebral palsy, which affects him physically, causing involuntary movements. Kit is unable to sit without aid, has no independent mobility, cannot feed himself and is also unable to speak.

Following today’s hearing at Leeds High Court, Irwin Mitchell, which represented Kit and his parents Joanna and Charles van Berckel, said the decision meant Kit will get a £10m settlement which will be used to care for him throughout his life. The figure includes money that has already been received, a spokeswoman for the law firm said.

Rachelle Mahapatra, a partner and specialist medical negligence lawyer at Irwin Mitchell’s Leeds office, representing the family said after today’s hearing: “It’s a huge relief for Kit’s family that the NHS Trust responsible for Kit’s injuries during his birth, have now agreed to a settlement to cover his extensive care and therapy needs both now and for the rest of his life.”

Mrs van Berckel added: “Kit is a bright, cheerful and lively boy who continues to amaze us with his energy, positive attitude and determination.”

She said her son had received a settlement “which will provide vital financial security for the rest of his life.”

Speaking after today’s hearing a spokeswoman for Harrogate and District NHS Foundation Trust said: “The Trust hopes that the settlement will allow the claimant to receive the care and attention he requires now and in the future to continue to allow the claimant to make the progress he has made to date from the devoted care provided to him by his family.

“The Trust wishes again to apologise for the failings in the standard of care that was provided to the claimant and his family.”