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The BBC's John McIntyre
"The court was told hospital errors devestated the Parkins' family life"
 real 28k

Wednesday, 2 February, 2000, 18:56 GMT
Brain damaged dancer wins compensation

Kerstin and Mark Parkin Kerstin and Mark Parkin were successful dancers

An internationally successful dancer who suffered massive brain damage during child birth has won a High Court claim for damages.

Kerstin Parkin now needs 24 hour-a-day care, cannot talk and must spend the rest of her life in a wheelchair or bed.

It is thought she will receive a "substantial part" of the 8m damages she was seeking from Bromley Hospitals NHS Trust.

No amount of compensation can undo what has been done
Mark Parkin
The judge ordered an undisclosed interim payment, and the court will decide in 18 months how big the final pay-out will be after health experts have assessed Mrs Parkin's progress.

Mr Justice Buckley said the case was "one of the most poignant" the court had seen.

Mrs Parkin's husband Mark issued a statement after the hearing in which he said the suffering caused to his wife and family had been "immeasurable".

"No amount of compensation can undo what has been done."

Heart attack

Kerstin Parkin Kerstin Parkin is now unable to walk
Mrs Parkin suffered a heart attack after a fit that occurred during the birth of her first child at Farnborough Hospital, near Orpington, Kent, in November 1996.

The High Court heard that fit could have been treated with "basic first aid".

But, because of a catalogue of staff errors, it was 20 minutes before Mrs Parkin's heart was started again.

As a result she suffered extensive brain damage which has left her wholly dependent on others.

Her senses, awareness and understanding are unimpaired.

The Parkins were professional Latin American dancers of international standing.

Mr Parkin has already settled his 800,000 claim for post-traumatic stress against the same health trust for an undisclosed sum.

He has already used an initial payment from the health authority to buy a bungalow near Bramley in Surrey which he will convert to provide the care he believes will help his wife lead a more fulfilling life.

At present, Mrs Parkin is in a nursing home near Godalming, Surrey.

Mark Rees, chief executive of Farnborough Hospital, said: "This was a very unusual tragedy and it is greatly regretted by everyone.

"But you have to remember with obstetrics this unfortunately does occasionally happen in the best of maternity units."

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19 Jan 00 |  Health
Litigation: Next NHS crisis

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