PARENTS

Parents Of Girl Who Suffered Brain Damage At Birth Win Compensation

14/08/2014 16:53 | Updated 22 May 2015

Parents of girl who suffered brain damage at birth win multimillion pound pay out

The parents of an eight-year-old girl who was starved of oxygen at birth have been awarded a multimillion pound payout to help with her care.

Ruby Curtis was starved of oxygen during her birth at St James Hospital in Leeds in 2005. She now suffers from cerebral palsy and requires specialist care and equipment.

Following an eight year battle, Ruby's parents Lisa, 40, and Steve, 41, have been awarded a £2.95 million payout to help with the costs of her care. They will also receive annual payments in addition to this sum, taking the total figure to £6.6 million.

Ruby was born at St James Hospital on August 28, 2005. Lisa had been admitted to hospital and had been given drugs to bring on contractions.

Staff failed to recognise that Lisa's uterus had ruptured, and were slow to deliver Ruby, who was starved of oxygen, causing brain damage. Ruby now has athetoid cerebral palsy, affecting all four limbs, head and trunk, with fluctuating muscle tone and some involuntary movements.

She needs help in all aspects of her daily life, including personal care, education and feeding. The little girl can make sound, but has no clear speech.

Speaking after the settlement was announced, Steve said: "She joined the Percy Hedley School, which specialises in working with children with cerebral palsy, last year and we are really pleased with the holistic approach they take to therapy and education.

"The settlement awarded today means Ruby can now continue to attend this fabulous school as it well help fund her fees, accommodation in Newcastle and one-on-one support.

"Ruby's condition affects every aspect of her life and she needs round the clock assistance to meet her needs. The settlement approved today gives us peace of mind that she will have the funds to pay for the care, support, therapy and specialist equipment and technology that she needs to maximise her independence and help her reach her full potential for the rest of her life."

Lisa gave up work to care for Ruby. The proud mum says her little girl is an 'inspiration':

"Ruby is a fantastic little girl and we are so proud of her, she is such an inspiration to us both. I felt angry initially but I don't feel that now, because I love her how she is."

"While it's heart-breaking to see her unable to do so many of the things the majority of other children take for granted, we couldn't have asked for a more perfect daughter.

"We want Ruby to experience as much as she can in life and we help her as best we can. While it is tragic to think that all of this came as a result of mistakes made in her delivery that were avoidable, our focus is on making sure Ruby has the best life possible.

"Ruby loves the same things as most other 8-year-old girls such as One Direction, Disney Princesses and shopping and she likes to get involved in as many activities as possible. She enjoys playing powerchair football, going swimming and to the cinema and she has recently joined Brownies near her school in Newcastle."

The money given to the family will be managed by Irwin Mitchell's in-house Court of Protection team.

Rachelle Mahapatra, a partner and medical law expert at Irwin Mitchell's Leeds office representing the family, said: "The challenge in Ruby's case was ensuring that we are able to provide her with as much independence as possible in her life.

"This includes having full-time professional carers so that mum and dad can be just that, and so that one day she can go to university and live as full a life as possible. The Hospital admitted majority responsibility which paved the way for the settlement approved today.

"Ruby's family have shown tremendous devotion and support to help her achieve the best quality of life possible over the last eight years, but the fact remains that her brain injury is so severe she needs specialist help from professionals and the settlement will now provide exactly that."

At the High Court in Leeds, Judge Mark Gosnell told Lisa and Steve that the settlement would enable them to secure in future a 'better family life for both you and Ruby' and he hoped the formal apology made by hospital chiefs would give them 'some feeling of closure'.

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