Belfast Telegraph

Co Antrim girl (9) to be awarded £8million in damages after parents claim medical negligence left her with cerebral palsy

By Alan Erwin

A nine-year-old Co Antrim girl who suffered brain damage at birth is set to be awarded more than £8 million in damages

The child, who cannot be identified, was starved of oxygen during her delivery at the Mater Hospital in Belfast.

Her parents sued the Belfast Health and Social Care Trust, claiming medical negligence left her with cerebral palsy.

With liability for errors leading to the injury accepted, the settlement confirmed at the High Court is thought to be the biggest of its kind in Northern Ireland.

Lawyers representing the girl brought a claim over delays in her birth when her condition began to deteriorate in 2008.

She suffered severe brain damage and now requires round-the-clock care.

During proceedings the girl was awarded around £500,000 in interim damages which enabled her family to secure a home adapted for her needs.

A final package drawn up to deal with all therapy and equipment needs for the rest of her life has now been approved by a senior judge.

It will include an initial lump sum payment of £1.6m and then further annual amounts for the rest of her life.

The overall level of damages is expected to be in excess of £8m, her solicitor confirmed.

Patrick Mullarkey, of O'Reilly Stewart law firm, said: "It's one of the highest value medical negligence cases ever settled in Northern Ireland."

Mr Mullarkey stressed, however, that it should not be seen as a "lottery win" for the family.

"It's a tragedy that these injuries were sustained by this girl," he said.

"The reality is that her parents would exchange all the money in a heartbeat for a child who had not suffered the catastrophic injuries she suffered at the very beginning of her life."

The solicitor added: "The purpose of the damages is to allow this girl to lead as normal a life as possible, to take account of her needs, and to provide for her care and treatment."

Belfast Telegraph Digital

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