Michelmores' Bernadette McGhie concludes potential eight figure settlement for upkeep of young man severely injured at birth

Michelmores clinical negligence team provide a link to this Western Morning News story

A WESTCOUNTRY boy left badly brain-damaged at birth because he should have been delivered eight hours earlier, has received millions of pounds in one of the biggest damages payouts in High Court history.

The youngster, named only as T for legal reasons, was born in June 1991 at North Devon District Hospital, Barnstaple, but was starved of oxygen.

His legal team alleged that doctors at the hospital should have performed a caesarean eight hours earlier when he become stressed in the womb.

The Northern Devon Healthcare NHS Trust admitted being in breach of duty.

Mr Justice Bean yesterday approved a damages settlement that will mean T - who is currently at a residential school and will need to live in a care home for the rest of his life - will receive the financial support that he needs.

No exact figure was given for the settlement, but his lawyers said that it could top £10 million.

The judge praised T's mother for her tenacity in fighting the case.

The mother, who thanked her lawyers for their support, said she had often felt "so alone".

"I have had to endure watching my son struggle and I have missed out on the joy of watching my first-born child grow up into a young man with all the hopes and aspirations any mother would have," she said in a statement outside court.

"I've missed seeing my son go through school, university, falling in love and having a family of his own.

"I mourn the child I should have had, and his brother has been denied the older brother he should have had.

"My partner and other children have been so supportive and strong, but they have missed out on a normal family life over many years."

The mother added: "It is only now that we know my older son will have the care he needs that we can all begin to relax in the knowledge that he will have a good quality of life for the future.

"There has also been personal anguish, and initially guilt, for something that was never my fault.

"There is no relief in law to compensate families for these losses because no financial compensation can ever replace what we have lost."

The court was told that T now suffered from epilepsy, developmental problems, behavioural difficulties and autistic spectrum disorder. Barrister Michael de Navarro QC, for the NHS trust, said that one of the reasons the case had taken so long to settle was a dispute about whether T's autism had been caused by his birth or if it would have developed anyway.

He too paid tribute to the fight that T's mother has shown for her son. "We hope this settlement will mean that T and his mother have a better future and a more secure future," said the barrister.

T's lawyer, Bernadette McGhie, said outside court: "T is a severely disabled young man, but his disabilities could have been avoided had the midwives and obstetricians acted promptly and secured his safe delivery a few hours earlier, as the hospital accepts they should have.

"Had they done so, T would not have suffered a hypoxic brain injury and there would have been considerable personal saving for my client, as well as a considerable financial saving to the NHS.

"His mother hopes that lessons have been learned.

"She believes that no family should have to suffer in the way that T and his family have done."