Suffolk girl agrees £250,000 damages

A LITTLE girl whose right arm was severely damaged during her birth was yesterday awarded £250,000 agreed damages.The injury has affected nine-year-old Nicola Sidney's school work, sporting activities and hobbies, Mr Justice Buckley heard at London's High Court.

A LITTLE girl whose right arm was severely damaged during her birth was yesterday awarded £250,000 agreed damages.

The injury has affected nine-year-old Nicola Sidney's school work, sporting activities and hobbies, Mr Justice Buckley heard at London's High Court.

The sum is believed to be the highest recorded award for the type of injury suffered by the youngster.

She has restricted use of her arm and shoulder and this will impact on her future ability to work or care for her own family, said her counsel, Tejina Mangat.


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Nicola, who lives in Bury St Edmunds with her parents Susan and Richard, was born by forceps delivery at the town's West Suffolk Hospital in February 1994.

She has been left with Erb's palsy and, despite four operations, doctors believe that her damaged nerves cannot be helped further by any surgery available today.

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Simon Readhead, counsel for West Suffolk Hospitals NHS Trust, which admitted liability, said it was delighted that settlement had been reached.

"It's clear that Nicky is a very remarkable young lady and her progress and achievements to date are due in no small part to the care and attention she has received from both parents, but particularly her mother.

"We would like to pay tribute to them both and wish the family well for the future."

The judge approved the award and said it was a "tragic" event.

Nicola's solicitor, Sarah Coles, said afterwards: "At the moment, doctors have done all they can for Nicola, but we all hope that at some point in the future the techniques of neuro-surgery will improve sufficiently to be able to offer her a real improvement in her prospects.

"As far as we know it is the highest recorded damages case for that type of injury."

Ms Coles said the amount reflected Nicola's future needs, especially when she has a family of her own, and also took into account the huge efforts her parents had made in her care.

She added: "Her mother and father have done an enormous amount of work with her – physiotherapy and care – which has helped her get to the stage she is at.

"They were quite emotional after the hearing. They were pleased with the award but they feel it did not have to happen as Nicola should never have suffered those injuries."

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