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Brightlingsea/Colchester: Family of brain-damaged daughter awarded £4.5m pay-out from hospital trust

12:45 28 January 2014

Gail Singleton-Parkes with her daughter Samantha

Gail Singleton-Parkes with her daughter Samantha

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A family from north Essex has been awarded a £4.5million settlement after their daughter sustained brain damage.

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A family from north Essex has been awarded a £4.5million settlement after their daughter sustained brain damage.

Baby Samantha Singleton-Parkes from Brightlingsea suffered injury shortly after birth at Colchester General Hospital in December 2003 and has Cerebral Palsy.

The Royal Courts of Justice today approved the settlement which is based on the estimated costs of Samantha’s future care needs.

It will be paid in a lump sum now and periodic payments over time.

The settlement comes after Samantha’s mother Gail Singleton-Parkes, sued Colchester Hospital University NHS Foundation Trust claiming the injuries were caused by negligence. The trust has denied liability but agreed to settle the matter by paying Mrs Singleton-Parkes 70% of what she was claiming in the High Court.

Mrs Singleton-Parkes said “I am pleased and relieved that we have finally reached a conclusion. Pursuing this claim on Samantha’s behalf has taken years of our lives - Samantha is now 10 years old – and has had a profound effect on our family.

“Although it happened a long time ago and has taken some time to resolve it is still very raw. Samantha’s settlement may seem like a lot but it will all be needed to look after Samantha on a daily basis and to secure her future needs.

“However, may I also take this opportunity to thank the Special Care Baby Unit (SCBU) and the Children’s ward at the hospital for the exceptional care they have given to Samantha over the years since.”

The family have worked with specialist Essex medical negligence solicitors, Thompson Smith and Puxon (TSP) in their litigation against the trust.

Head of the clinical negligence team at TSP, Julian Wilson, said “In the vast majority of cases medical treatment in this country is carried out very competently: however, in Samantha’s case mistakes were made following her birth which led to a catastrophic brain injury.

“Samantha’s mother’s main concern in this litigation has always been to secure Samantha’s future, and this settlement achieves that.”

A spokesman for Colchester Hospital University NHS Foundation Trust said:

“The High Court today approved the settlement of this claim which will ensure there will be sufficient funds to pay for Samantha’s future needs.

“This is a very tragic case surrounding the management of Samantha and her mother post-delivery.

“Colchester Hospital University NHS Foundation Trust is pleased that the claim has been resolved and offers Samantha and her family its very best wishes for the future.

“The Trust works hard to ensure that the quality of its healthcare services continues to improve and that lessons are learned after mistakes are made.

“For example, as a result of this tragic case, the Trust reviewed its processes. Following birth, once a midwife is satisfied that mother and baby are well, it would be normal practice for them to leave the family alone for a short while to bond with their new baby.

“However, if the mother is unaccompanied following the birth and is very tired, the baby is placed in a cot and not left in the mother’s arms while she is alone.”

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