West Hertfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust ordered to pay millions in compensation for brain-damaged girl Lhana Bedoya

St Albans & Harpenden Review: NHS trust ordered to pay millions for brain-damaged girl NHS trust ordered to pay millions for brain-damaged girl

The health trust in charge of St Albans City Hospital has been ordered to pay millions in compensation to the family of a girl left disabled from her birth.

Lhana Bedoya, 10, suffered a devastating period of oxygen starvation to her brain in the moments before she was delivered at Watford General Infirmary in January 2003.

It left her catastrophically disabled, with cerebral palsy, epilepsy, severe sight difficulties and prone to respiratory infections, meaning she will depend on round-the-clock care for the rest of her life.

Following her birth, her now divorced parents, Fabian and Ursula, launched a damages claim on her behalf against the NHS and yesterday accepted a settlement which will see her receive millions to fund her lifelong care.

Lhana's barrister, Robert Glancy QC, said the case against the NHS trust had originally been troubled by the fact that Lhana's mum suffered a fall on ice in a car park in the days before she went into labour.

But the West Hertfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust had accepted liability to pay damages when it was handed the expert evidence, he said.

Apologising for the trust's negligence, its barrister, Simon Readhead QC, said nothing could turn back the clock to before Lhana was damaged, but annual payments would cover the cost of her care for life.

"The trust hopes that that will give Lhana's parents the comfort of knowing that the care will be there for just as long as Lhana needs it," he told the court.

"The progress that Lhana has made to date is due in very large part to the quality of care and assistance she has received from her family, particularly her parents, who have provided her with a safe and loving environment."

Although the exact details of the settlement sums were not revealed, cases like Lhana's routinely result in many millions being paid out. The money will be managed by lawyers and spent to provide for her.

After the ruling Jackie Ardley, Chief Nurse for West Hertfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust, said: "There were clearly shortcomings in the care we provided to Lhana Bedoya in 2003 and I would like to express my sincere apologies to Lhana and her family on behalf of the trust.

"I am pleased that this claim has been settled and hope that it will ensure that Lhana has the best possible quality of life in the future."

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