£2m damages for boy who suffered brain damage in hospital

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A SCHOOLBOY has been awarded more than £2m in damages in an agreed settlement after he suffered catastrophic brain damage while being cared for in hospital following an operation.

Oscar Bates was just two and a half when he became ill with a cancerous tumour and underwent chemotherapy.

Adrian Hopkins QC, representing him, told the High Court in Leeds yesterday when he was aged three in December 2002 Oscar had an operation in St James’s University Hospital to remove the neuroblastoma.

The clinical negligence action against Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust arose from his subsequent post-operative care.

Mr Hopkins said one of the risks following such an operation was fluid loss “that materialised and the signs were overlooked and not acted upon competently enough.” That had ultimately led to serious brain injury.

He said the hospital admitted a breach of duty relating to a one hour delay in arranging a paediatric review.

The brain injury had left Oscar with severe learning difficulties and fully dependent on others for his day-to-day care.

He said Oscar also suffered from severe and disabling epilepsy but following an operation at Great Ormond Street Hospital last year that had significantly diminished and he was now a happier and brighter child.

Mr Hopkins and Mr Justice Hickinbottom, who approved the agreed settlement, both paid tribute to Oscar’s parents for their excellent care of him.

The agreed settlement was for £2.5m with further partial payments to care for Oscar in the future of £132,000 a year until 2020 and then at £202,000 a year thereafter.

Rachelle Mahapatra, from Irwin Mitchell solicitors, who acted for the family, said his parents were totally devoted to their son. “This settlement means they will be able to give him a much better quality of life.”

A spokesman for Leeds Teaching Hospitals said: “The Trust strives to achieve the highest standard of care at all times. Whilst settlement was agreed without admission of liability, the Trust recognised and accepted on this occasion that some aspects of Oscar’s care fell below the standards that he and his family were entitled to expect and the Trust regrets those failings.”

“It is recognised that neither words nor money can compensate Oscar nor his family for what happened but it is hoped that the settlement will go some way in making life easier by providing him with the care that he needs and will provide him and his family with some long term security.”