Huge compensation for brain-damaged boy

A BOY who was left severely brain-damaged at birth has been awarded compensation believed to run into seven figures.Christopher Stewart, of Valley House, Langham, was starved of oxygen during his birth at the St John's Hospital, Chelmsford, three days after Christmas in 1996.

A BOY who was left severely brain-damaged at birth has been awarded compensation believed to run into seven figures.

Christopher Stewart, of Valley House, Langham, was starved of oxygen during his birth at the St John's Hospital, Chelmsford, three days after Christmas in 1996.

Mr Justice Stanley Burnton approved yesterday a settlement - believed to run into seven figures - and paid tribute to the way Christopher's parents, Andrew and Deborah, had cared for him.

The Mid Essex Hospital Services Trust, which runs St John's Hospital, had earlier admitted liability for the injuries which caused six-year-old Christopher's cerebral palsy.

“Cases such as this are tragic and the law can do no more than seek to compensate in money terms that which cannot be compensated for,” said Mr Justice Burnton.

“The injury suffered by Christopher was a terrible injury and no money can compensate him or his parents for what he then suffered or what he has continued to suffer ever since.

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“All this award can do is provide a fund to meet the expenses which have been incurred and will be incurred as a result of that terrible tragedy.”

The judge added Christopher's “positive and loving” parents had done a magnificent job of looking after him.

Speaking after the hearing at the High Court in London, Mr and Mrs Stewart said they were delighted with the outcome of and described Christopher as a “lovely child”.

They added he had been presented with a Child of Achievement award by best-selling Harry Potter author J K Rowling at the Hilton Hotel in London.

“It's great to get it finished,” said Mr Stewart, a former civil engineer who retired in order to look after Christopher.

“It's been going on for over six years. You know it will eventually come to an end, but there are times when you are wondering if you are going to win.”

Christopher's legal team, headed by Simeon Maskrey QC, had alleged medical staff should have been aware of possible complications surrounding his birth after his heart rate slowed while his mother was in labour.

They also claimed Mrs Stewart, who was 37 at the time, should have been regarded as a high-risk patient as it had been her first baby and a previous pregnancy had resulted in a miscarriage.

Christopher was eventually born at about 1.20am on December 28, 1996, which was, according to his lawyers, 30 minutes too late.

His umbilical cord was wrapped tightly around his neck when he was delivered, and despite being incubated, he suffered quadriplegic cerebral palsy.

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