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£3.7m award for brain damaged girl

PUBLISHED: 05:58 25 February 2003 | UPDATED: 16:20 24 February 2010

A 10-year-old girl who was brain damaged at birth has been awarded £3.7 million agreed High Court damages.

Chloe Ralph, of Copford, near Colchester was born at All Saints Hospital in Chatham, Kent, in January 1993.

A 10-year-old girl who was brain damaged at birth has been awarded £3.7 million agreed High Court damages.

Chloe Ralph, of Copford, near Colchester was born at All Saints Hospital in Chatham, Kent, in January 1993.

She emerged with the umbilical cord around her neck and had still not taken a breath after six minutes. She was ventilated after 11 minutes.

Lawyers for West Kent Health Authority agreed that Chloe's injuries were caused late in labour or in the first period after her birth, when she was starved of oxygen.

Chloe's counsel, Robert Francis QC, said: "Unfortunately and admittedly negligently there was delay in her delivery and failure to monitor her condition."

Chloe, who suffers from cerebral palsy, is now confined to a wheelchair, cannot speak or feed herself, and will always need full-time care.

Mr Francis told Mr Justice Holland, in London, that, despite her problems, Chloe appeared to have normal intelligence and had a "sunny" disposition.

Richard Booth, for the authority, apologised "wholeheartedly and unreservedly" to Chloe and her family, who moved to Essex in 1996.

He paid tribute to the devotion, love and care shown by Chloe's stepfather, Steve, and mother, Samantha, whom he described a "remarkable lady and wonderful mum".

He added: "What shines through the medical reports is that Chloe would never have made the progress she has without her mother's love and care.

"We all hope this award will at least make life a little easier for them all."

The judge approved the settlement and offered his good wishes for the future.

Solicitor Theresa Kingsnorth said later: "This is a tragedy for all concerned. It's one of those cases where it's inappropriate to call it anyone's 'fault' as such, though clearly there is responsibility involved because the proper procedures weren't followed. As a result, Chloe has suffered a crippling injury from which she won't recover.

"The amount of money awarded may seem a great deal, but I should emphasize that it has been calculated by experts as the sum Chloe will require to ensure she can be looked after satisfactorily for the rest of her life. The first stage will be to adapt the house that has been bought with part of the settlement money, to make it suitable for Chloe's needs.

"She is a very happy little girl despite her severe disabilities. This settlement should ensure that Chloe receives the help she needs to make the rest of her life as fulfilling as possible."


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