Damages for boy paralysed due to forceps delivery

image captionThe health board said the agreed sum was not in the region of the settlement being sought

The parents of a boy who was paralysed from the neck down after a delivery by forceps have been awarded undisclosed damages in an out-of-court settlement.

The 10-year-old, who has not been named, will need 24-hour care for the rest of his life.

He suffered "catastrophic neurological trauma" at birth when his spinal cord was injured during the delivery.

His parents were suing NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde for £23m but the agreed sum has not been revealed.

The child can not breathe unaided and needs care costing hundreds of thousands of pounds every year.

Lord Stewart ruled that the health board should make periodic payments throughout the boy's life.

The case is unusual because Scottish medical negligence cases are usually settled on a lump sum basis.

Lord Stewart wrote: "Care costs are easily the biggest head of claim.

"The cost of 24-hour care for someone with the claimant's needs is, at present values, hundreds of thousands of pounds a year for life. Life expectancy is therefore central to the quantification of damages."

'Tragic case'

He added: "The only reasonable certainty about forecasts of life expectancy is that they are bound to be wrong.

"Consequently, lump sum awards are almost inevitably going to be too little or too much: either the patient outlives the award and is left without care; or the patient pre-deceases and the family receives a windfall, probably at taxpayers' expense in medical cases."

An NHSGCC spokesman said: "An out-of-court settlement has now been reached regarding this tragic case.

"Whilst we are unable to comment on the detail of this, we can confirm that the settlement was not in the order of that originally sought by the claimant.

"It was agreed that an initial lump sum would be paid to the claimant together with yearly payments thereafter."

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