Leiston/Ipswich: Girl receives �4.8m NHS payout after hospital oversights

A TEENAGE girl who suffered irreparable brain damage as a child following a succession of hospital oversights has received a �4.8million payout from the NHS.

Erin Tye was left with severe mental and physical disabilities after she suddenly stopped breathing when she was just three months old.

The 14-year-old, from Leiston, now requires round-the-clock care for cerebral palsy, epilepsy, learning difficulties and impaired eyesight.

After accepting 90% liability at London’s High Court, Ipswich Hospital agreed to turn over a lump sum and annual payments to provide care for the rest of Erin’s life.

Her parents, Kevin and Diane Tye, have accepted the hospital’s apology and welcomed the settlement, which came eight years after launching legal proceedings. Mrs Tye said: “We will continue to be totally committed to Erin, she is loved very much and her sisters and brother idolise her.

“Kevin and I feel like a great weight has been taken off our shoulders now and we can move on and give Erin everything she deserves.”

Erin weighed just over 2lbs when born 14 weeks premature in April 1997 and remained at Heath Road’s special care baby unit until July that year.

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The family’s solicitor said Mrs Tye called the hospital when Erin developed cold-like symptoms a few days after leaving the unit and was told by a medic to buy decongestant.

A judge heard that when Erin’s condition worsened the following day, Mrs Tye again rang the hospital and spoke to a nurse, who said she might have colic.

A day later, Erin suddenly stopped breathing and was rushed to hospital, where it was later discovered she had suffered devastating brain damage.

Susan Taylor, of JMW Solicitors, claimed on behalf of the family that Erin’s respiratory failure would have either been prevented or treated more quickly had her mother been advised to take her to hospital or see a GP.

Mr and Mrs Tye, who have three other children, spent seven years caring for Erin before suing the hospital for the alleged negligence of medical staff. Mrs Tye said: “We were so busy looking after Erin that we never spoke about it until I had a discussion with a friend.

“No amount can ever compensate for what Erin has been through but it is nice that her future is now secure. We can have the house adapted and pay for extra care.

“At a settlement meeting, the defendants apologised and gave us such high praise we were moved to tears. That meant such a lot to us. The judge also gave us recognition for all we have done over the years.

“I would like to thank Sue Taylor and her team for their dedication and support over the last eight years and getting us through it.

“On a more personal note Kevin should be recognised for all his hard work and devotion to Erin. He really is one in a million and it is only because we are such a strong family unit that we have got through this.”

A spokeswoman for Ipswich Hospital said: “The trust is pleased that the parties were able to agree terms of settlement without recourse to trial which were approved today and which will assist with Erin’s future care. The trust takes this opportunity to wish both Erin and her family all the best for the future.”