‘Extraordinarily brave’ girl who lost four limbs gets multimillion-pound settlement approved
An “extraordinarily brave” girl who had all four limbs amputated after she was wrongly discharged from hospital has had a multimillion-pound settlement approved by a judge.
Lawyers for the child, who cannot be identified, said she was taken to Frimley Park Hospital (pictured) in Surrey with “red flags for meningitis and sepsis”, including a high temperature and heart rate, leg pain, and drowsiness after vomiting.
However, she was discharged after being given paracetamol, her lawyers said, and when her parents took her back to A&E a few hours later with a rash and a fever, she was diagnosed with meningococcal sepsis.
She was transferred to the paediatric intensive care unit of another hospital and suffered from multi-organ failure, and also required several procedures including skin grafts to treat the infection.
The young girl subsequently had above-knee amputations of both of her legs and above-elbow amputations of her arms.
Her family brought a claim against Frimley Health NHS Foundation Trust, arguing that if she had been treated urgently with antibiotics, she would not have been as ill and would have avoided the amputations.
However, an agreement was reached after the trust admitted liability.
At a hearing on Friday at the High Court in London, Judge Caspar Glyn KC approved the settlement of around £39 million – part in a lump sum and the rest in annual payments for the rest of her life.
Elizabeth-Anne Gumbel KC, for the girl and her family, said: “It’s a very sad case in which the claimant sadly lost all four of her limbs after not being diagnosed promptly enough in relation to meningitis.”
The barrister said that as well as requiring the amputations, the child also has significant scarring over her body.
Ms Gumbel continued: “She is an extraordinarily brave little girl who is managing in school to do very well academically.”
The court heard part of a letter written by Frimley Health NHS Foundation Trust chief executive Neil Dardis sent to the girl’s parents.
In the letter, Mr Dardis apologised, adding that her care “fell below the standard (the girl) was entitled to expect” and that she should not have been discharged.
Bradley Martin KC, for the trust, added: “There is no amount of money that can truly compensate (her) for her injuries.
“She will have access to the care and technology she needs.”
Mr Martin later paid tribute to the girl’s “extraordinary spirit and determination”, adding: “It is quite remarkable that despite such devastating injuries, she has such potential.”
Judge Glyn said he would “unhesitatingly approve the settlement”, and also paid tribute to the girl and her family.
He added: “Money cannot bring who your daughter was back but it can secure her future.”
Deborah Nadel, from the law firm Fieldfisher representing the girl and her family, said: “This child’s injuries and severe disabilities were completely avoidable with proper care.
“All the red flags for meningitis and sepsis were there for doctors to see. Specific protocols for treating these illnesses exist to protect patients and doctors, but they only work if they are followed.
“Settlement will help provide the girl with the equipment, therapy and aids she needs and will help her live her most fulfilling life, despite what happened to her. She is brave and she is determined.”
A spokesperson for the NHS trust said: “We are very sorry for the claimant’s injuries and we understand no amount of money can fully compensate for them.
“However we are pleased that the settlement has been approved and we hope the agreed damages will ensure that the claimant can live as independently as possible in the future.”
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