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Monday, 14 October, 2002, 13:47 GMT 14:47 UK
7m payout for brain damaged dancer
Kerstin and Mark Parkin
Kerstin and Mark Parkin were top Latin dancers
A professional dancer who suffered severe brain damage during childbirth has been awarded a record multi-million pound compensation payout.

Kerstin Parkin, 34, from Surrey, is to receive 7m plus an annual payment of 250,000 for the rest of her life after a series of blunders at Farnborough Hospital, Kent in November 1996.

It is the largest award for compensation ever made in a clinical negligence claim.

Mrs Parkin was left brain damaged after having a heart attack while in labour with her first child, the High Court was told.


It is clear that the decision I made that I wanted to be able to bring Kerstin home to be cared for in our own family home has been vindicated

Mark Parkin

Staff at the hospital failed to take basic steps to prevent damage and a cardiac crash team were unable to reach her because they did not know the security code to get into the ward.

Her family's barrister John Grace QC told the court on Monday that the case arose from "profoundly sub-standard care" given to Mrs Parkin.

The compensation reflects the actual cost of providing the care, therapy and equipment which Mrs Parkin will need for the rest of her life - agreed at another 50 years, her solicitor Claire Fazan said.

Mrs Parkin, along with her husband Mark, was among the world's best Latin American dancers but now she depends on round-the-clock care and a range of different and intensive therapies.

The only voluntary movement she has is the ability to move her head and eyes slightly.

Bromley Hospitals NHS Trust finally admitted liability for her injuries during a High Court hearing in February 1999. Her claim was originally brought in September 1998.

The trust, which initially argued that she should live in a nursing home, conceded that Mrs Parkin should be cared for at her Surrey home where she has thrived for the past two years.

Ms Fazan described the award as "large" but also "a sensible and fair one".

Progress at home

Mrs Parkin's condition has improved and she is now able to use her limited head and eye movements to communicate, to control a computer and a wheelchair and to play games with her family and friends.

Outside the hearing Mr Parkin said she has made progress being treated at home, so much so they now go to concerts and even on holiday.

"It is clear that the decision I made that I wanted to be able to bring Kerstin home to be cared for in our own family home has been vindicated.

"Kerstin is clearly overjoyed to be living as part of her family. Kerstin is great company."


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See also:

24 Apr 02 | Health
10 Jul 01 | Health
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