Ipswich: Hospital’s £5m pay out after boy left brain damaged by birth delay

Paul, Joseph and Helen Rea
, pictured in 2010

Paul, Joseph and Helen Rea , pictured in 2010

A seven-year-old Ipswich boy who suffered catastrophic brain damage after being born too late due to hospital blunders has won damages worth more than £5m compensation at London’s High Court.

If Joseph Rea had been born just 39 minutes earlier at Ipswich Hospital in September 2006 doctors agree he would have been a healthy baby.

But due to the delay his brain was starved of oxygen and he has cerebral palsy needing 24 hour care for the rest of his life.

Ipswich Hospital NHS Trust admitted liability and agreed if he had been born earlier he would have been healthy and able to live a normal life.

Mr Justice Tugendhat approved the agreed settlement paid tribute to parents Helen and Paul and elder sister Megan who care for Joseph at their home in Purdis Farm, Ipswich.

He said the one redeeming feature of the “misfortune” that led to the brain damage, was the “courage, temerity, love and devotion” shown by the whole family to Joseph.

Paul Rees, QC for the Trust, offered their “unreserved apology” and also paid tribute to the devotion shown by the whole family to Joseph.

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He will get a lump sum of £2.4m and annual index linked payments for life which will take the overall damages past the £5m figure.

Joseph spent the first three days of his life on a ventilator and suffers from seizures, mood swings, and delayed development.

His mum Helen said earlier said he cannot feed or do anything for himself. “It is just like having a baby.”

The family are helped by the East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices and have praised the “invaluable” support in giving day care to give them a break.

Their solicitor Tom Cook said outside court: “Joseph is generally a happy and lovely child, but his life will not be an easy one. He will always require care and therapy and will never be able to support himself financially by working.”

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