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Cerebral palsy teenager disabled at birth awarded £6.5 million compensation
Rhiannon Hayman, 15, of Bridgend, has severe cerebral palsy, is unable to talk or walk without help and requires round-the-clock care. She sustained her injuries after being starved of oxygen during her birth at Bridgend’s Princess of Wales Hospital.
At a hearing, the Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University Local Health Board agreed to pay a compensation settlement including a £2 million lump sum and periodical payments to fund her care needs for the rest of her life.
Approving the settlement, High Court judge Mr Justice Owen paid tribute to Rhiannon and her family, including parents Suthathip and David and siblings Becky and Rhys. “I would like to pay my own tribute to the whole family, but to Mrs Hayman in particular because it is she who has borne the heaviest burden and I know how difficult it has been at times. I am deeply impressed by everything I have read about Rhiannon. She is a remarkable young lady and one cannot help but be moved by the positive attitude to life, the sheer zest for life that shines out of the reports, despite the grievous misfortune she suffered at her birth. The settlement means that her financial future is secure.”
Rhiannon was born on 4 November, 1994 in the breach position after a delay in delivery. This led to a period of asphyxia, resulting in severe brain damage.
Speaking after the hearing, Mrs Hayman said the effect of her daughter’s disability had been “devastating” on the entire family. “Money cannot change what has happened to Rhiannon. However, we hope that it will fund her complex needs for many years to come,” she said. “As a family, we are relieved that this compensation will enable her to find the equipment, living costs and 24-hour care which she will need for the rest of her life.”
ABM University Health Board offered its “unreserved apologies” to the family for the failures by the former Bro Morgannwg NHS Trust in the management of Mrs Hayman’s labour. “We would like to give our reassurances that we strive to learn lessons from events such as these and that our highest priority is patient safety,” said a statement.
Boyes Turner’s medical negligence lawyer Susan Brown who specialises in severe cerebral palsy claims said: “Many of the children with cerebral palsy that we act for are in their teens and some are young adults. Often, after years of coping with their child’s special needs parents contact us because they are concerned about how their child’s needs will be met in the future, especially when they are no longer able to provide the care and support themselves. They hope that an award of compensation will at least provide some financial security.”
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