A nine-year-old girl who was left with brain damage after medical mistakes were made by staff at Colchester Hospital is to receive clinical negligence compensation.
Ellie Sutton was taken to hospital with symptoms of Meningitis when she was just eight months old.
However, hospital staff opted to discharge the infant even though her body temperature had reached 39.9 degrees C; the Essex Chronicle reports. This means that hospital staff directly contradicted official guidance that states a child should be kept in hospital if their temperature exceeds 37 degrees C.
Ellie's mother Sarah was not satisfied and took her daughter back to the hospital, but it was 11 hours until a medical review was carried out.
The delays in the baby's treatment led to her developing brain damage and epilepsy, which means she now has extensive long-term care needs.
Colchester Hospital University NHS Foundation Trust has since admitted that medical mistakes were made by hospital staff and agreed to pay £5.5 million clinical negligence compensation to Ellie and her mother.
A lump sum compensation payment of £2.4 million will be awarded initially, while further compensation payments will be paid every year of Ellie's life. This will help to cover expenses such as providing her with specialist medical equipment, adapting her home and ensuring she receives the right therapies and 24-hour care.
Commenting after the compensation agreement was reached, a spokesman for Colchester Hospital University NHS Foundation Trust said, "We confirm that we have settled a clinical negligence claim brought by Mrs Sarah Sutton on behalf of her daughter Ellie.
"An admission of liability was made in 2009 and the NHS Hospital Trust has apologised unreservedly.
"The Trust acknowledges that medicl errors were made in the failure to diagnose Meningitis and expresses their sincere regret again to Mrs Sutton and to Ellie."
Medical Mistakes 'Could Have Been Avoided'
Mrs Sutton said that she was "devastated" when she learned her daughter had suffered brain damage. However, she said she was "even more heartbroken" when it became apparent her condition "could have been avoided had simple medical errors not been made".
"To watch our daughter struggle with everyday life is devastating on our family and no matter what happens nothing can change that," Mrs Sutton commented.
She went on to hail her daughter as an "amazing little girl" and said she is very proud of her determination. Mrs Sutton added that people must trust their instincts if they have doubts about the health of a member of their family.
She said members of the public put their trust in healthcare professionals, but warned they can make mistakes that have "disastrous consequences".
Mrs Sutton went on to say that every second counts when it comes to treating Meningitis properly.
According to the Meningitis Research Foundation, babies are more likely to develop bacterial meningitis than people in any other age group.
The organisation pointed out that while the risk has decreased in recent years due to the introduction of various vaccines, there are still certain types of Meningitis and Septicaemia that cannot be immunised against. Meningitis and Septicaemia can kill and disable in hours.
The Meningitis Research Foundation believes it's important for parents to be familiar with the symptoms of the condition and to get their baby immunised as much as possible.
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