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Young girl left with cerebral palsy and severe disabilities wins multi-million claim against negligent staff of Northampton General Hospital

March 27, 2012 by  Filed under Featured, News


Ten-year-old Hannah Louise Gudd recently won a multi-million pound settlement from Northampton General Hospital (NGH), following an incident of medical negligence at her birth, which blinded her and left her able to feed only on a tube.


On April 1st 2001, oversight on the part of hospital authorities resulted in Hannah’s brain being starved of oxygen when she was in her mother’s womb. The resultant cerebral palsy is so severe that she has lost her sight and will never be able to enjoy solid food. With her mother Emma Gudd leading the fight, Hannah filed a suit against the hospital claiming that negligence resulted in her present heart-wrenching condition.


The hospital accepted liability for the incident. At a High Court trial in London recently, Margaret Bowron QC, on behalf of the trust related that a settlement had been finalized. Hannah would be the recipient of a £1.15m lump sum. Additionally she would get yearly, index-linked and tax-free payments that would cover her care financially, for the duration of her life.


Elaborating on this compensation, Simeon Maskrey QC, on behalf of the family, informed the judge that besides the lump sum, Hannah would also get £135,000 every year till the year 2019. Following which the amount will go up to £225,000-a-year for the duration of her life.

The average life expectancy of women in Northamptonshire is around 82 years. Based on this, the payment due to her should have stood at £19.8m. However, considering the extent of her injuries and her severe disability, Hannah’s life expectancy has come down radically.


The money from this award will not come out of the coffers of NGH funds. Just as all other NHS hospitals, it will be put into an insurance-styled scheme. This arrangement was to prevent trusts from going bankrupt after an accident of this nature, considering there are an average of 100 such cases a year spread over England and Wales.


In a release, Miss Bowron said that the trust is delighted that this claim has been compromised. Hannah suffered terrible injuries at the time of her birth, for which the trust has expressed its deep regret, and they reiterated that this settlement should bring her financial security and hopefully bring peace of mind to her loving and devoted parents. The institutions wished to extend their best wishes to them.


Mrs. Justice Lang said that she pays tribute to the parents for the devoted care they have provided. She added that she was satisfied that it is appropriate for Hannah to accept the lump sum and the periodical payments that have been offered by the defendant and that she approved of the settlement.


The Gudds’ were a relieved couple following the verdict of the court which came at the end of a seven-year fight for their daughter’s care. The couple gave a joint statement in which the name of the father was with held for privacy. They said that they are greatly relieved to finally reach the end of this legal process. The settlement reached will ensure a safe and caring environment for Hannah. No amount can compensate Hannah for the injury she has suffered. The settlement will enable the house to be adapted for Hannah’s needs, provide for specialist equipment and for her extra ongoing care requirements.

While Hannah’s case has a good outcome, there are worries that changes in the law will not allow families similarly affected to get legal help. The chances of favorable results may not be possible with no win no fee solicitors. With changes in the law, the chances of receiving compensation can drag on for years with no win no fee claims taking years to get resolved.


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