Horsham family's relief at £8.5m payout for Alfie

Dad Andrew Buck, 44, seven-year-old Alfie, mum Sam Buck, 40, and the families other two children Jessica Collett, 13, and Lewis Collett, 10

Dad Andrew Buck, 44, seven-year-old Alfie, mum Sam Buck, 40, and the families other two children Jessica Collett, 13, and Lewis Collett, 10 Buy this photo

First published in News by

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.

'Huge relief'

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.”

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Comments (2)

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8:07pm Fri 19 Apr 13

PETE OF QUEENS PARK says...

Good news and I hope Alfie will be well looked after now he deserves it,it is a pity it took the hospital so long to admit liability when they knew they were to blame
Good news and I hope Alfie will be well looked after now he deserves it,it is a pity it took the hospital so long to admit liability when they knew they were to blame PETE OF QUEENS PARK
  • Score: 0

9:04am Sat 20 Apr 13

getThisCoalitionOut says...

The solicitors will have made a lot of money because this took so many years to get sorted - the law has to be changed that hospitals can no longer hide the truth and be made to pay out compensation much, much sooner.

The NHS trust involved here has behaved disgracefully - firstly they are still employing midwives who are incompetent - 22 years ago one of my work colleagues had her baby killed by the staff at the RSCH - in similar circumstances to this. Why are bad midwives still being employed?! Something has got to be done to stop this.

This poor family has had to deal not only with having their babies life ruined but also fight for 7 years to get compensation - it must not be allowed to keep on happening.

These NHS trusts must be stopped and I think they should be finished with.
The solicitors will have made a lot of money because this took so many years to get sorted - the law has to be changed that hospitals can no longer hide the truth and be made to pay out compensation much, much sooner. The NHS trust involved here has behaved disgracefully - firstly they are still employing midwives who are incompetent - 22 years ago one of my work colleagues had her baby killed by the staff at the RSCH - in similar circumstances to this. Why are bad midwives still being employed?! Something has got to be done to stop this. This poor family has had to deal not only with having their babies life ruined but also fight for 7 years to get compensation - it must not be allowed to keep on happening. These NHS trusts must be stopped and I think they should be finished with. getThisCoalitionOut
  • Score: 0

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