UK & World News
Severely Brain-Damaged Boy Gets £6m Payout
A boy left severely brain-damaged after being starved of oxygen at birth has been granted a £6m NHS compensation package.
Eleven-year-old Joseph O'Reggio, from Wolverhampton, now suffers from cerebral palsy and has learning difficulties.
His parents, Rachel and Julian, have been fighting a court battle for over a decade following Joseph's birth at the New Cross Hospital in Wolverhampton in April 2001.
The Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust has apologised because it admitted Joseph should have been delivered an hour earlier.
It has not accepted liability for his injuries but said there was a breach of duty.
Mrs O'Reggio went into labour on April 13 after a healthy pregnancy, but the next morning Joseph's heart rate dropped.
The situation was monitored but it was not until just before 10pm that evening that specialist help was called for.
The trust has agreed to meet 80% of Joseph's claim. It means he will be paid a sum of money every year for the rest of his life.
Mrs O'Reggio said it had been a long and difficult road but the family were now at the end.
"It was just soul destroying, so I try not to think of what should have been," she said.
"We have to accept Joseph as he is now and make the best of it. But it was devastating, and I wouldn't want anyone to go through what we went through. It's been a tough journey but we got there in the end."
The seven-figure settlement means the O'Reggio family will be able to move into a new home and make adaptations that will ensure Joseph can have access to the best facilities, including a sensory room and a hydrotherapy pool.
His father said the family take comfort from the fact that Joseph will receive care for the rest of his life.
"It will be in a trust fund, and it should and will last for as long as he lives, whether it be 20, 40 or 50 years," he said.
"When we're past it there will be a team of people to make sure he's cared for, for the rest of his life. It's a huge relief."
Sara Burns, medical law expert at Irwin Mitchell, who represented the O'Reggio family, said: "Rachel and Julian have waited patiently and with huge dignity for today's settlement, which will make such a big difference to Joe's life.
"This was a complicated case but the fact is the mistakes made during Joe's care should simply not have happened.
"Trusts must ensure thorough training of staff and that guidelines are in place for when to call for senior support, not just for midwives, but all areas of the NHS.
"This will reduce basic, preventable errors from happening that have devastating consequences for patients and their families."
The Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust said in a statement it hoped "the award of damages will secure Joseph's future and assist him in maximising his potential".