Birth injuries girl awarded £10.8m

A girl who suffered devastating injuries at birth is to receive compensation worth £10.8 million.

The sum awarded to 11-year-old Milly Evans at London's High Court is thought to be one of the highest - if not the highest - clinical negligence awards.

After Milly's birth at Lincoln County Hospital, on March 1 2001, she was transferred to the neo-natal unit, where she underwent resuscitation and suffered a seizure. Her parents, Andy and Kate, claimed that if the baby's heart had been properly monitored, the midwife would have spotted her fetal distress sooner, and Milly would have been delivered earlier without suffering catastrophic injury.

Their counsel, Susan Rodway QC, told the judge, Sir Robert Nelson, that it was a tragic case. She said: "It is yet another incident of an avoidable accident at birth which caused devastating injuries."

Milly suffers from cerebral palsy and requires 24-hour care and help with all aspects of daily living. She is confined to a wheelchair and unable to speak, although her intellect has remained fairly well intact and she communicates through sophisticated eye-gaze equipment. She sat smiling in court as the judge approved a settlement involving a lump sum of £5.866 million and lifelong periodic payments rising to £204,000 a year.

He had heard that United Lincolnshire Hospital NHS Trust admitted liability in March 2010 but had contested the amount of damages until the parties recently reached agreement.

He told 45-year-old Mr Evans, a former squadron leader in the RAF and member of the Red Arrows display team, who was unable to continue his career because of Milly's disabilities, that he and his 41-year-old wife, Kate, had both done a "fantastic" job. "The love and devotion you have shown to Milly with her problems has been enormous," he added.

Paul Rees QC, for the trust, paid tribute to the family and offered them an unreserved apology for the events surrounding Milly's birth. Mr Rees added: "No amount of fine words can put right that wrong. I know that and everyone in court knows that. But they are entitled to hear in open court that apology."

The family's lawyers, Access Legal from Shoosmiths, said that the money would ensure that Milly had a positive life experience as far as possible given her condition. She would now be able to have a specially-adapted home, with hoists and a hydrotherapy pool, which would be big enough for her to access all rooms.

Sylvia Knight, director of nursing and patient services at United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust, said: "I offer my unreserved apologies on behalf of the Trust, for the tragic incident in 2001 that has affected the life of Milly and her family. Since this incident, we have made many changes to our practice that will help ensure this does not happen again."