Page last updated at 17:51 GMT, Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Girl wins brain damage settlement

A girl left severely disabled following her birth at a Norfolk hospital has won a multi-million pound compensation payout at the High Court.

Tahlia Jade Downes, now 14, was deprived of oxygen during her delivery at the Norfolk and Norwich Hospital.

Through her mother, Dawn, she sued the hospital's managers, claiming a Caesarean should have been carried out.

The hospital denied staff had caused injury but agreed to a settlement expected to run in to several millions.

The court heard Tahlia, of Hellesdon, near Norwich, had suffered permanent brain damage, which led to severe mental and physical disabilities and also affected her vision.

The hospital agreed before Mr Justice Eady that she should be compensated on the basis of 70% of a full valuation of her claim.

'Extraordinary care'

A final figure for her compensation will not be reached for some time, but lawyers confirmed outside court that Tahlia's claim will be worth several million pounds, given the enormous costs of funding a lifetime of care.

Margaret Bowron QC, for Tahlia, told the judge: "We, on our side, are satisfied that it is a fair and proper resolution of a difficult claim.

"It has brought financial stability and, although not a full amount, it makes her future secure."

Miss Bowron added that Tahlia's family, particularly her mother, had "devoted more hours of care than can be imagined to this very damaged little girl".

Terence Coghlan QC, for the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospitals Trust, added: "Everyone involved in this case has been struck by the extraordinary level of care and time and love which has been put into caring for Tahlia by her family and we didn't want that to pass without being mentioned in court."

Approving the settlement, Mr Justice Eady said he was entirely satisfied that it was fair and in the best interests of Tahlia and her family.



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