A judge has approved a settlement of compensation for brain damage for a young girl who was deprived of oxygen prior to her delivery and now suffers from athetoid cerebral palsy.
Ruby Curtis (8) from Garforth in West Yorkshire was born on 28th August 2005 at St James Hospital in Leeds after having been deprived of oxygen in her mother´s womb prior to her delivery. Medical staff at the hospital had administered drugs to bring on her mother´s contractions, but a failure to notice her mother´s ruptured uterus delayed Ruby´s birth longer than necessary.
Ruby was subsequently delivered suffering from brain damage and was diagnosed as suffering from athetoid cerebral palsy – a cerebral palsy condition which results in involuntary muscle movements in the head, body and limbs – and, although Ruby can make noises, she is unable to speak clearly and communicates through her eye movements.
Ruby requires help with every element of daily life, and her mother – Lisa – gave up her job to care for her daughter. Through Lisa, Ruby made a claim for compensation for brain damage at birth against the Leeds teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, claiming that Ruby´s condition could have avoided with greater care and alleging that the medical staff failed to recognise that a serious complication had occurred.
After an investigation, the Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust acknowledged “majority responsibility” for Ruby´s brain damage, and a compensation settlement was negotiated that will secure round-the-clock care and financial security for the rest of Ruby´s life.
Judge Mark Gosnell at the High Court in Leeds heard that the settlement of compensation for brain damage at birth included a lump sum payment of £2.95million and ongoing payments each year which would be managed by the Court of Protection.
An apology to the family was also read out in court by a representative of the Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust which, the judge hoped, would give the family “a sense of closure”. Judge Gosnell added while approving the settlement of compensation for brain damage at birth that the settlement should secure “a better family life for both you and Ruby”.