An 11-year-old girl is set to receive a substantial amount of clinical negligence compensaion after medical mistakes made by clinicians when she was a baby led to her suffering serious brain injuries.
Millie Bowers was born prematurely when her mum and dad were taking a holiday in Turkey in September 2002; Get Surrey reports.
Shortly after her birth, she began exhibiting symptoms of an infection that resembled meningitis and she was therefore sent to Royal Surrey County Hospital for treatment.
The child responded well to a course of antibiotics. However, staff at the hospital never referred Millie to a specialist for neurological treatment, despite a build-up of fluid inside her brain.
When the decision was eventually made to refer her to Kings College Hospital in London in December 2002, it was too late and she had sustained serious brain damage.
Royal Surrey County Hospital NHS Foundation Trust later admitted that it had been negligent and acknowledged that Millie should have been referred to a specialist unit during the previous month.
As a result of medical mistakes, the child has grown up unable to walk without assistance and she also has permanent learning difficulties. This means she will never be able to lead a fully independent life.
The child's parents therefore took legal action against the trust and the case was heard at the High Court in London. Mrs Justice Carr ruled that the family was entitled to financial compensation due to the negligence of staff at Royal Surrey County Hospital.
No amount has yet been decided. However, the fact that Millie has extensive and long-term care needs means it is very possible any settlement clinical negligence compensation package could exceed £1 million. "The assessment of damages can hopefully be completed as soon as possible to bring some finality to this case," Mrs Justice Carr commented.
Speaking after making her decision, the Judge went on to hail Millie as a "sparky and animated" young person, while her mum and dad were praised for showing "selfless devotion" to their daughter over the last 12 years.
Hospital Now Highly Rated
Royal Surrey County Hospital NHS Foundation Trust will be keen to stress that the case involving Millie Bowers is not representative of typical health outcomes among its patients.
Indeed, the organisation recently won the CHKS Top Hospitals programme patient safety award for this year.
This was handed to the Trust in recognition of its achievements in the quality of healthcare and the improvements it has made over the years.
Jason Harries, managing director of CHKS, said the patient safety award rewards excellence in the NHS and highlights those Trusts that "clearly share a commitment to driving improvement and engendering a culture of excellence throughout their organisation".
"It is a credit to the staff at Royal Surrey County Hospital NHS Foundation Trust that it has won this award," he commented.
Taffy Gatawa, head of patient safety and quality at the Trust, added that it prides itself on "working hard to deliver the best patient care and outcomes for our patients".
By Francesca Witney