Kent

Canterbury hospital caused boy's low blood sugar brain damage

Ben Harman Image copyright Irwin Mitchell Solicitors
Image caption Ben Harman has severe autism and learning difficulties and will need 24-hour care for life

An autistic teenager is to receive multi-million-pound compensation after the hospital where he was born admitted it caused his condition.

Ben Harman, 13, suffered a severe brain injury when his blood sugar levels at birth were not checked despite him displaying clear warning signs.

Kent and Canterbury Hospital did not explain Ben's condition to his parents until four years later.

The hospital trust said it hoped the compensation would secure Ben's future.

His parents said dealing with Ben's condition and the battle for compensation had been "really hard".

"His specialist eventually just muttered it was a neo-natal birth injury," said his father Robin.

"He was born fine, he just needed the care and he would have been OK."

Ben was underweight and "floppy" when he was born at the hospital in Canterbury in April 2002.

He was suffering from low blood sugars but staff failed to perform any blood glucose tests until two days later when his condition had deteriorated further.

His parents were not told about the low blood sugar injury but were concerned about his development in the first years of his life.

East Kent Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust formally admitted it was responsible in July 2013.

Image caption Ben's parents Jo and Robin were not told what caused his condition until four years after his birth

The High Court has awarded Ben a lifetime care settlement. The family's solicitors said it was likely to be several million pounds as a lump sum and annual payments for the rest of his life.

The trust said it was very sorry for the distress caused to Ben and his family.

"We have previously accepted that had the trust carried out adequate observations of Ben when he was born he would not have been discharged and sustained his subsequent brain injury," it said.

"While no amount of money can compensate Ben and his family, we hope that the resolution of this case can secure Ben's future."

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