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Blind Teenager Wins £5 Million Damages from NHS

A young man who lost his sight because hospital staff negligently failed to diagnose a virulent infection before it was too late has won a £5 million damages payout after an NHS trust admitted full liability for injuries which will have a serious impact on the rest of his life.

The man was aged nine when he was diagnosed with a rare form of juvenile arthritis. He had a phobia of needles so had to be fed his medication through a tube. The drugs he was given suppressed his immune system and, at the age of 11, he developed classic signs of infection, including fevers and low blood pressure.

His condition was misdiagnosed as appendicitis or gastroenteritis as crucial hours ticked by. He eventually went into septic shock, and suffered a series of cardiac arrests which resulted in oxygen starvation and irreversible damage to his brain. He was left almost completely blind and his cognitive abilities and mobility were also badly affected.

On behalf of the 19-year-old, lawyers sued the NHS trust with responsibility for the hospital. The trust agreed to a settlement of his case, which took the form of a substantial lump sum, plus index-linked and tax-free annual payments designed to cover the costs of his care for life. The settlement was approved by the High Court.

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