A mother whose son was left with permanent brain damage following a hospital’s “catalogue of errors” has told of her relief after securing an £8.5m compensation payout.
Alfie Buck, now seven, will need full-time care for the rest of his life after nurses at Haywards Heath’s Princess Royal Hospital failed to spot that he was being starved of oxygen during birth.
His mother, Samantha, 40, told The Argus she could now rest safe in the knowledge that her son will be cared for after she has gone.
She added: “It’s just pure relief. It has been a long, drawn-out process but I now know that everything is in place for Alfie no matter what happens in the future.”
Samantha and husband Andrew, 44, from Horsham, began legal proceedings back in 2006 just months after the birth of their third child.
But it was only five years later, in 2011, that Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS bosses admitted liability.
Midwives at the West Sussex hospital failed to monitor the unborn baby’s heart rate for over 12 hours during labour and failed to deliver him by emergency Caesarean, which would have prevented the brain damage.
'It didn't seem fair'
Samantha said: “At the time I was very bitter. It just didn’t seem fair, he didn’t deserve it.
“Once he was born it was like ‘there you go, there’s your brain damaged child’ – and that was it.”
The couple fought for compensation while acting as full-time careers for Alfie. If they needed specialist equipment or help with care, they were left to pick up the bill or would be forced to go without.
But following yesterday’s hearing at London’s High Court, where it was heard that a “catalogue of errors” were made, Alfie will never have to go without again, thanks to the agreed £8.5m payout.
The couple also have a daughter Jessica, 13, and son Lewis, ten, who both “dote” on their younger brother.
Samantha added: “They want to include him in everything they do and if they can’t – then they won’t do it. That’s a huge relief to know that they will look after him when we’re gone.”
A spokesman for Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust said: “We hope this settlement will ensure that Alfie receives the best available care and support throughout his life.
“We are exceptionally sorry for the pain and distress caused to Alfie and his family as a result of the unacceptably poor care he received.
“We have learnt lessons from what happened and changed practice as a result.”
See the latest news headlines from The Argus:
- Roadside tributes to Paradise Park worker
- Fresh family appeal to help solve Sussex Police's biggest murder investigation for 15 years
- Police shut down rave in industrial unit
- Investigation launched into historic seafront baths fire
- Teenagers driven home by police after pick-up parent arrested for drink-driving