Alder Hey apologises after court orders £27m payout to boy who suffered ‘catastrophic brain injuries’

Alder Hey Children’s NHS Foundation Trust has offered a “sincere and heartfelt apology” to the family.

<p>Alder Hey Children’s NHS Foundation Trust has made an apology to the family</p>

Alder Hey Children’s NHS Foundation Trust has made an apology to the family

A boy who suffered "catastrophic brain injuries" after doctors failed to diagnose a virus has been awarded £27 million in a High Court settlement.

The boy, who cannot be identified but is now 13, was taken to Liverpool’s Alder Hey Hospital almost a decade ago after suffering a seizure as a toddler.

While at the hospital he suffered a second seizure in the accident and emergency department in view of medical staff, but was sent home.

The boy’s father sued Alder Hey Children’s NHS Foundation Trust on his son’s behalf, and Mr Justice Fordham outlined detail of a settlement in a written ruling published after a High Court hearing in Manchester.

Trust bosses admitted “breach of duty” and “causation of loss and damage”, said the judge.

‘Sincere and heartfelt apologies’

Following the ruling, Alder Hey Children’s NHS Foundation Trust said: “We would like to express our most sincere and heartfelt apology to the family in this case.

“The Trust sets itself very high standards of care but on this occasion the care provided fell below those standards which is a source of deep regret for everyone here.

“We are committed to learning lessons from incidents such as this to ensure we continue to improve and avoid preventable injuries occurring in the future.

“We hope that this settlement will go some way into helping with ongoing and future care.”

Details of the case and ruling

Mr Justice Fordham said the boy had suffered a seizure at 17 months old on 19 September, 2009, and was taken to Alder Hey Children’s Hospital.

He said the youngster suffered a second seizure in the accident and emergency department "under observation by medical personnel".

Mr Justice Fordham said the boy was sent home and, despite returning to the hospital, was not diagnosed with a virus until 24 September, 2009.

"He sustained catastrophic brain injuries, leading to profound impairments and intractable epilepsy," said the judge.

"Subsequently, the defendant admitted breach of duty. Subject to one contested point, the defendant also admitted causation of loss and damage."

Mr Justice Fordham said the trust’s case was that the boy would always have suffered a "mild residual cognitive deficit and epilepsy in any event" and causation was "still in dispute".

The judge said the boy had "very significant care needs" and would need help from carers 24/7 for the rest of his life, plus modified accommodation, and specialist medical therapies and equipment.

How the payment will be settled

Mr Justice Fordham said under the settlement the boy would get a lump sum plus periodical payments throughout his life.

He said he had been told that overall value of the settlement award would amount to about £27.3 million.