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Last Updated: Sunday, 24 February 2008, 15:39 GMT
4m damages for 'devoted' mother
A mother who has devoted herself to her severely brain-damaged daughter for 29 years has been awarded 4.1m damages.

Laura Gaines had heart surgery at Bristol Royal Infirmary in 1979 aged 10 months old, but negligent after-care starved her of oxygen for 22 minutes.

The High Court heard she was left blind, unable to move or speak, epileptic, and totally dependent.

Her mother Ann moved with her to the United States from Burnham-on-Sea, Somerset, when Laura was two.

'Truly remarkable'

In 1998, after her divorce, Mrs Gaines heard there was to be a public inquiry into the cardiac services at Bristol Royal Infirmary and contacted solicitors.

By 2001, the South West Strategic Health Authority admitted negligence, and the process of assessing damages began.

The family's QC, Andrew Spink, told Mrs Justice Cox at London's High Court that Mrs Gaines was a "truly remarkable" woman who worked only part-time as a bookkeeper so as to devote herself to Laura.

Because of this, Laura, who enjoys listening to TV and music, had a "remarkable quality of life, given her difficulties".

Tim Dyde, solicitor for the family, who live in California, said: "Mrs Gaines has always provided her daughter with the highest quality of care and this settlement will go towards ensuring the rest of Laura's life is as comfortable as possible.

"Laura and her family are now looking forward to putting this legal case behind them and getting on with their lives in the US."

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