9 million payout for family over birth mistakes

A family's won damages after doctors at Northampton General Hospital were found to have made mistakes at their sons birth, causing him to be left brain damaged.

8 year old Lewis Merrigan was born a spasmodic paraplegic after he was starved of oxygen during his birth.

It means Lewis is now severely disabled. He can't walk, stand or sit himself and has barely any use of his limbs. He also has epilepsy and he can have up to a 1000 fits a day.

Yesterday the High Court ruled that Northampton General Hospital were negligent during Lewis's birth and doctor's had failed to spot abnormal monitoring signs, including his foetal heart rate dropping. As a result he was starved of oxygen and left severely brain damaged.

Lewis's solicitor, Robert Rose said:

"There's a huge amount of relief. The family now have the reassurance that they can look after Lewis and meet his needs for the rest of his life.

I think we have to be careful, these awards always look like a lottery win, they're not. They're structured in a way where they'll pay out a sum over Lewis's lifetime to look after him. It's certainly not a lottery win in any way shape or form."

Northampton General Hospital issued this statement:

"A settlement between the family of Lewis Thomas Merrigan and Northampton General Hospital NHS Trust was reached today. Proceedings were issued in the High Court in September 2007 for a claim for damages concerning the treatment Lewis received at the hospital at the time of his birth on 20 June 2002.

The Trust admitted failings in Lewis’ management prior to proceedings being issued and has apologised unreservedly to his parents for the tragic injury Lewis has suffered as a consequence of these failings.

The Trust hopes that the award in this case will be of benefit to Lewis and his parents in ensuring that they will receive appropriate support to continue to provide their loving care for Lewis."