£4.9 Million Damages for Hospital Error after 35 Years


JMW Solicitors LLP, acting for John Calf of Manchester, yesterday received the approval of the High Court in Manchester to an award equivalent to £4.9 million in compensation for a hospital blunder at the time of John's birth 35 years ago that left him brain damaged.

The Defendant was the North West Strategic Health Authority.  The award follows mistakes made when John was born at the Withington Hospital in 1974 as a result of which he is severely disabled and is entirely dependent upon others for all of his care. He is not able to do anything for himself and requires total care. Problems were not picked up and acted on by the midwives as they should have been during the course of the delivery. This caused the lack of oxygen which damaged John's brain. Had they acted properly John would have been delivered unharmed and had a normal life.

John's mother, Laura, said:

"No sum of money can ever compensate John and ourselves for what we have lost."

John was represented by Olivia Scates, a specialist clinical negligence partner at Manchester law firm JMW.

Commenting on the award Olivia Scates said:

"I am pleased that John's claim has concluded satisfactorily as this was an extraordinary case.  John's mother had always believed that something had gone wrong at the time of his birth, but her concerns were dismissed. She had previously sought legal advice from another solicitor when John was much younger but they dropped the case. It was only after Laura saw an article in her local paper regarding a case which I had dealt with which was similar to John's, that she contacted me and I agreed to investigate and started proceedings in December 2006.   I think that Laura's determination and the care she has provided to John is extraordinary".

John is cared for by his mother, who has devotedly looked after him for his whole life and it is now hoped that in the near future, John will be cared for in the family home by specialist carers. The Judge at the hearing commented on the remarkable devotion that John's mother had shown him, describing this as "very heart warming and humbling".

Part of the award will be paid in a lump sum and the rest in annual payments for the rest of John's life.

At the hearing the Defendant gave a public apology to John Calf and his family for the injury he had suffered.

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