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£37m award for catastrophic brain injury.

A six-year-old boy who suffered a "catastrophic" brain injury after his birth in hospital has received £37m in compensation from the NHS.

The child suffered a brain fever after contracting the herpes simplex virus at Watford General Hospital.

The boy’s barrister, Henry Witcomb QC, told London's High Court the virus was not detected and acted upon fast enough.

West Hertfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust, which runs Watford General Hospital, had previously apologised and agreed to settle the case.

The boy's solicitor said the payout was the highest award ever in a clinical negligence case against the NHS.

The court heard there was a two-day delay in giving the boy an antiviral drug, which resulted in catastrophic brain damage. This caused eyesight and communication problems, cognitive and movement difficulties as well as behavioural issues.

Mrs Justice Lambert said: "The effects of the negligence have been tragic both for the boy and his family."

She told the court the Trust admitted liability for what happened to the boy at an early stage and had agreed to settle his case.

The boy will receive a lump sum payout, plus annual, index-linked and tax-free payments to cover the costs of the 24-hour care he will need for life.

Mr Witcomb said the value of the settlement, calculated over the boy's lifetime, totalled more than £37m.

The chief executive of the trust apologised to the boy's family by letter in May 2017.

The trust's barrister, John Whitting QC, said: "The care which he received was not of an appropriate standard and for that we are acutely sorry."

He added lessons had been learned and steps had been taken to ensure nothing similar would happen again.

 

 

 

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