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Wednesday, 23 June, 1999, 01:21 GMT 02:21 UK
Traumatised parents agree payout
Chicken pox
Chickenpox can be fatal
A couple, who suffered intense psychological trauma after the death of their nine-year-old daughter, has accepted 100,000 from the health authority involved.

It is thought to be one of the first times relatives have successfully sued for post traumatic stress disorder after a death in medical circumstances.

Lexie McConnell died after taking medically-prescribed steroids, which suppressed her immune system, and then contracting chickenpox.

Parents Art and Vicky McConnell said they were "pleased" with the outcome of their case.

They said they would to continue their campaign to highlight the potentially fatal dangers of steroid treatments for children.

Oxfordshire Health Authority has not admitted liability over Lexie McConnell's death and maintains that its doctors were not negligent.

Lexie died in November 1992 at the John Radcliffe Hospital, in Oxford, after contracting chickenpox.

Her immune system had been suppressed by high doses of steroids she had been prescribed for the eye condition, Toxoplasmosis.

An inquest recorded a verdict of misadventure and the health authority refused an independent inquiry into Lexie's death.

Psychological trauma

Her parents, from Abingdon, Oxfordshire, brought legal action against their health authority over her death and the psychological trauma they have suffered since.

Since Lexie's death, music teacher Mr McConnell has been forced into early retirement, takes anti-depressants and has daily panic attacks.

His artist wife says she has been unable to paint and feels suicidal after watching her daughter die.

A statement agreed by Mr and Mrs McConnell and Oxfordshire Health Authority said: "The action brought by Lexie's parents ... has been concluded amicably ... without any admission of liability on the part of the health authority, the hospital or any of the doctors involved, and with the payment of 100,000.

"The health authority has, at all times, maintained and does maintain that Lexie's death was not caused by any negligence or want of care on its part."

Mr McConnell said: "We are pleased as it is a significant amount, but it has taken a long time.

"We will use the money to continue our campaign to highlight this issue for the public."

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