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Mother's fight over hospital errors

A woman whose two children were both left severely brain-damaged following errors by the same hospital when they were born has told other parents not to give up hope when fighting for compensation.

Paula McKay's daughter Natasha Jackson needs 24-hour care for the rest of her life after errors made by staff at the former Sharoe Green Hospital in Preston starved her brain of oxygen at birth, leading to significant cerebral palsy.

Her second-born child Patrick Jackson, 22, was also severely brain-damaged by mismanagement of his delivery by staff at the same hospital, leading to him also being severely physically and mentally disabled.

Patrick's case was settled in June 2010 for £6 million with liability eventually admitted in full.

But 23-year-old Natasha's case took longer to investigate and conclude because it was so complicated and liability was vigorously contested. She has now been awarded £7 million in compensation.

Mrs McKay, who is divorced from Natasha and Patrick's father and has since remarried, said: "Natasha and Patrick have been through so much in their lives and it has been heart-breaking to see them suffer at times due to the injuries they were left with.

"However, with the settlement of Natasha's case I am relieved that I no longer have to worry about what will happen when I am not here any more and that both will have access to the specialist care they need and deserve.

"Another important factor of this financial settlement is that it will ensure Natasha receives excellent ongoing care that will not ever be affected by local or national budget cuts.

"It upsets me to think about any other families going through the same ordeal and having to fight hospital trusts to help children they have failed.

"However, I would say to any other parents in the same situation not to give up hope, you can eventually get the help you and your child need and things can get better."

Sharoe Green Hospital closed in 2004.

Olivia Scates, a partner at JMW Solicitors, who represented both Natasha and Patrick in their legal battles against the former North West Strategic Health Authority, said this was an unprecedented situation where two children in one family had suffered brain damage resulting in cerebral palsy as a result of negligence.

"Paula has had to cope with two avoidable tragedies involving her children," she said.

"To go through such an ordeal once and a child's life to be devastated is tragic, for it to happen to two children in the same family is unbelievably sad. However, Paula is an incredible mother who has dedicated her life to caring for Natasha and Patrick and has conducted herself with great dignity throughout their cases.

"Natasha will never be able to live independently, work or do any of the things the rest of us take for granted.

"However, as well as the highly specialist accommodation and equipment she requires, now she will have access to excellent care that will improve her quality of life and enable her to access therapies and activities designed for people with her level of disability."


From Belfast Telegraph