Disabled teenager awarded settlement over problems at birth

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A teenager who suffered severe brain damage at birth will receive almost £6million in the settlement of his clinical negligence case against Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust.

Nathan Harper suffered brain damage resulting in cerebral palsy and speech and learning difficulties because of a delay in his delivery at St Mary’s Hospital, Portsmouth, on July 8, 1997.

BL Claims Solicitors, acting on behalf of Nathan through his mother Karen, brought a case which concluded today (November 4) at the Royal Courts of Justice, where an agreed settlement worth just under £6million was approved.

Nathan, now 17, from Portsmouth, will receive an initial lump sum followed by annual payments to meet his care needs.

The award will be paid into the Court of Protection for Nathan’s benefit and carefully managed to ensure it meets his needs throughout his lifetime.

Sue Jarvis, who leads the cerebral palsy team at BL Claims Solicitors, said: “This is an excellent settlement which will allow Nathan to buy accommodation, aids and equipment to enable him to be as independent as possible for the rest of his life, as well as providing the care and support which he needs.

“Nathan has received loving and dedicated care and support from his mother throughout his life and the award means that Nathan will be able to obtain a degree of independence whilst retaining the close relationship with her.”

The settlement comes after Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust, which initially denied liability, conceded that there was a delay in delivering Nathan and that as a result of the delay, he suffered permanent brain damage.

Nathan was delivered after a difficult and lengthy labour and subsequently developed cerebral palsy, causing involuntary movements in all four limbs. He is able to walk unsteadily but tires easily and uses a wheelchair for longer distances.

He has achieved a degree of independence even though his hand function is poorly co-ordinated, and he has feeding and speech difficulties.

Karen Harper said: “No amount of money can truly compensate for the impact of Nathan’s injuries on his quality of life, but this settlement will allow us to plan for the future with the confidence that he will always be given the care he needs.”

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