Young girl who had all 4 limbs amputated after hospital's mistake wins $48.3 million settlement

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By Kim Novak

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A girl who was left needing all four of her limbs amputated after a wrongful discharge from hospital has won a settlement of £39 million ($48.3 million) in compensation.

The British girl, who has not been named, had been taken to hospital by her worried parents after experiencing a high fever, drowsiness, and vomiting, which are "red flags" for meningitis and sepsis, per BBC News.

However, medics at Frimley Park Hospital in Surrey, England, sent her home with paracetamol (known as acetaminophen or Tylenol in the US).

When her condition worsened, her parents rushed her back to hospital where she was diagnosed with meningococcal sepsis, before experiencing multiple organ failure.

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The hospital trust admitted liability. Credit: Andrew Spiers / Alamy

Elizabeth-Anne Gumbel KC, representing the family, said via the BBC that the severity of the girl's sepsis meant she had to have quadruple-limb amputations, with both legs amputated above the knee, and above-elbow amputations of both arms.

The family had argued that if their daughter had been immediately treated with antibiotics on their first visit to hospital, she may not have become so ill and may not have needed to have all four limbs removed.

Deborah Nadel, the family's lawyer, told the court, per BBC: "This child's injuries and severe disabilities were completely avoidable with proper care.

"All the red flags for meningitis and sepsis were there for doctors to see. Specific protocols for treating these illnesses exist to protect patients and doctors, but they only work if they are followed."

Neil Dardis, chief executive of Frimley Health NHS Foundation Trust, had apologized to the family in a letter and said the care the girl received "fell below the standard [she] was entitled to expect," and should not have been discharged, the High Court heard.

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The family argued that if the girl had been treated promptly she might have been able to avoid having her limbs amputated. Credit: Brian Jackson / Alamy

Per Metro, the hospital trust admitted liability at the High Court in London on Friday, with a spokesperson for the NHS trust telling the BBC in a statement: "We are very sorry for the claimant's injuries, and we understand no amount of money can fully compensate for them.

"However, we are pleased that the settlement has been approved, and we hope the agreed damages will ensure that the claimant can live as independently as possible in the future."

The girl will receive part of the settlement in a lump sum, with the rest being paid out annually for the rest of her life, to allow her "access to the care and technology she needs".

Despite the battles she has faced, Gumbel revealed that the "extraordinarily brave" girl is "managing in school to do very well academically," per the BBC.

Featured image credit: Kevin Britland / Alamy

Young girl who had all 4 limbs amputated after hospital's mistake wins $48.3 million settlement

vt-author-image

By Kim Novak

Article saved!Article saved!

A girl who was left needing all four of her limbs amputated after a wrongful discharge from hospital has won a settlement of £39 million ($48.3 million) in compensation.

The British girl, who has not been named, had been taken to hospital by her worried parents after experiencing a high fever, drowsiness, and vomiting, which are "red flags" for meningitis and sepsis, per BBC News.

However, medics at Frimley Park Hospital in Surrey, England, sent her home with paracetamol (known as acetaminophen or Tylenol in the US).

When her condition worsened, her parents rushed her back to hospital where she was diagnosed with meningococcal sepsis, before experiencing multiple organ failure.

wp-image-1263190652 size-full
The hospital trust admitted liability. Credit: Andrew Spiers / Alamy

Elizabeth-Anne Gumbel KC, representing the family, said via the BBC that the severity of the girl's sepsis meant she had to have quadruple-limb amputations, with both legs amputated above the knee, and above-elbow amputations of both arms.

The family had argued that if their daughter had been immediately treated with antibiotics on their first visit to hospital, she may not have become so ill and may not have needed to have all four limbs removed.

Deborah Nadel, the family's lawyer, told the court, per BBC: "This child's injuries and severe disabilities were completely avoidable with proper care.

"All the red flags for meningitis and sepsis were there for doctors to see. Specific protocols for treating these illnesses exist to protect patients and doctors, but they only work if they are followed."

Neil Dardis, chief executive of Frimley Health NHS Foundation Trust, had apologized to the family in a letter and said the care the girl received "fell below the standard [she] was entitled to expect," and should not have been discharged, the High Court heard.

wp-image-1263190655 size-full
The family argued that if the girl had been treated promptly she might have been able to avoid having her limbs amputated. Credit: Brian Jackson / Alamy

Per Metro, the hospital trust admitted liability at the High Court in London on Friday, with a spokesperson for the NHS trust telling the BBC in a statement: "We are very sorry for the claimant's injuries, and we understand no amount of money can fully compensate for them.

"However, we are pleased that the settlement has been approved, and we hope the agreed damages will ensure that the claimant can live as independently as possible in the future."

The girl will receive part of the settlement in a lump sum, with the rest being paid out annually for the rest of her life, to allow her "access to the care and technology she needs".

Despite the battles she has faced, Gumbel revealed that the "extraordinarily brave" girl is "managing in school to do very well academically," per the BBC.

Featured image credit: Kevin Britland / Alamy