£27.3m Alder Hey payout ‘took too long’ says lawyer

Bill Braithwaite QC from Exchange Chambers in Liverpool says the NHS dragged its feet before agreeing a £27.3m settlement for a boy who suffered ‘catastrophic injuries’ in the care of Alder Hey. Tony McDonough reports

Alder Hey
Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in Liverpool, where the boy suffered ‘catastrophic injuries’

 

A Liverpool lawyer has hit out at the NHS after he and his colleagues secured a £27.3m payout from Alder Hey Children’s Hospital for a boy who suffered “catastrophic, life-changing injuries in” its care.

Bill Braithwaite QC and Chris Barnes, secured the payout from Alder Hey Children’s NHS Foundation Trust in West Derby in one of the largest clinical negligence cases ever settled. But Mr Braithwaite the NHS kept his client waiting for far too long.

The young boy, who is subject to an anonymity order, was injured as a young child when he attended Alder Hey and an emerging problem was missed, resulting in catastrophic brain injuries.

Legal proceedings began in October 2018. Subsequently, the trust admitted breach of duty. Subject to one contested point, the trust also admitted causation of loss and damage.

The questions of quantum of damages, including that contested quantum point, were listed for a 10-day trial due to start on November 1, 2021. However, in the run up to the trial the parties arrived at the settlement, which has now been approved by the court.

Bill Braithwaite
Head of Exchange Chambers, Bill Braithwaite QC

 

Mr Braithwaite QC said: “While it is a relief for the family that this claim settled, it is unacceptable that they were kept waiting and worrying until only two days before their claim was due to start in court.

“There was ample opportunity for NHS Resolution, which is supposed to be keen on resolving claims, to grasp the nettle and admit that Alder Hey’s repeated negligence had caused catastrophic injury to an innocent baby and his family.

“The pressure on parents of children with severe brain injury, particularly as the child get older, larger and more difficult to manage, is immense, and in this case it went on for years.”

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