A TEN-year-old girl who was left severely disabled following errors made by two hospitals at the time of her birth has been awarded a settlement worth around £5million.
Louisa Ravouvou suffered severe injuries because hospital staff failed to respond to a bleed on the brain while she was in the womb, and later failed to give her a blood transfusion which was needed shortly after she was born.
The Oxford Radcliffe Hospitals NHS Trust, now the Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust, and the Great Western Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust admitted jointly in May 2012 that breaches of their duty of care at the time of Louisa’s birth caused her disabilities.
Today the High Court approved a settlement which will see her receive a package to provide care for the rest of her life.
Sue Jarvis, a partner at Blake Lapthorn who leads the firm’s Clinical Negligence team in Oxford and specialises in complex cerebral cases, acted for Louisa.
She said: “Today’s settlement means that Louisa will receive a package to provide care for the rest of her life, valued at approximately £5million.
“Louisa's family have already moved to specialist accommodation which will be adapted to meet her needs and a professional care regime has been appointed to provide the 24-hour care that she requires for the remainder of her life.
“Although Louisa is severely disabled she has a delightful disposition and potential to be able to indicate her preferences and her specialist accommodation and care team will try to improve her quality of life as much as possible, for example, providing a stimulating environment in which Louisa is likely to thrive.
“Louisa has a much reduced life expectancy but the award will ensure that during her shortened life she receives the care and aids and appliances which she needs."
Louisa, who was born on 31 October 2003, suffered bleeding in her brain while she was in her mother's womb.
When her mother was admitted to the John Radcliffe Hospital, the hospital failed to respond appropriately to the bleed and Mrs Ravouvou remained in hospital for a week.
It was decided on 31 October 2003 that Louisa should be delivered. Louisa was transferred to the GWH because there were no Special Care beds in the Unit at Oxford.
The GWH was advised that Louisa was likely to be anaemic but there was a breach of duty of care on the part of the Great Western in failing to make appropriate arrangements for Louisa to receive a blood transfusion within half an hour of delivery. As a result of these failures, Louisa collapsed soon after birth and suffered catastrophic brain damage.
When proceedings were issued, both Trusts admitted breaches of duty of care in failing to recognise and respond appropriately to the anaemia. However, both denied that the bleed was responsible for Louisa's disabilities until shortly before a planned meeting to try to negotiate settlement where the case was listed for trial only a few weeks after that date.