1. ITV Report

Cumbrian family win £2m hospital pay out

A family has won a £2.25 million settlement after their son suffered devastating injuries at birth.

The University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Trust accepted responsibility for a catalogue of errors that left five-year-old Zak Hall with severe mental and physical disabilities.

Medics have said that he is unlikely Zak, of Sedbergh, Cumbria, will live into adulthood.

Zak was effectively stillborn at the Royal Lancaster Infirmary and starved of oxygen.

He has never learned to smile, cannot communicate with his family and is registered as blind.

Enduring a cocktail of drugs to manage his varied health problems, which include cerebral palsy, he also suffers upwards of 40 seizures a day and has to be fed through a tube.

Mum Margaret brought a claim against the trust, seeking an apology for the mismanagement of her labour and financial compensation.

The family was awarded a lump sum of £2.25 million, which will be followed by annual payments to cover Zak's ongoing needs.Over his lifetime, it will amount to several million pounds.

Speaking after the decision at the High Court, Mrs Hall said the outcome was a relief to the family.

She added:

"To anybody else it will seem like a huge amount of money but when you look at it from a care point of view it is just enough to get by."It means that rather than permanently having to fight the NHS for the equipment we need, we can fund it ourselves.

"Of course we would rather have had a little boy who would have had a long life, get married and have his own family than any amount of money in the world.

"We can't get that little boy back but we have Zak, who is brilliant and absolutely gorgeous."

– Mrs Hall

Mrs Hall asked for a planned Caesarian for Zak's birth when scans showed he could be as big as 12lb by his due date.

She had already been through a difficult labour with daughter, Ashleigh, eight years earlier, and was keen to avoid a similar situation.

Instead of a Caesarian, Mrs Hall was induced and a series of mistakes meant Zak was stillborn.

By the time he was resuscitated, the serious brain damage was irreversible.

His family alleged that if the planned Caesarean had been allowed, Zak would probably be living a normal happy life.

"I begged, pleaded and cried for the Caesarean, thinking it was meant to be the mother's choice, but it just fell on deaf ears,"

– Mrs Hall

Five years on and Mrs Hall said it has been an up hill struggle to provide Zak with the care he needs.

Family and friends have rallied round with fund-raising to buy specialist equipment and make life more comfortable for the youngster.

But Mrs Hall said the settlement will now alleviate financial pressures and allow them to live as normal a life as possible, including moving to a bigger house to accommodate Zak's assortment of equipment. from hospital beds to wheelchairs.

The family has been given varying estimates on Zak's life expectancy, ranging from 12 to 19 years.

"We just hope to God it is later rather than sooner,"

– said Mrs Hall

She said the family has been able to accept the trust's apology, but called on hospital staff to listen to patients more in the future.

Speaking on behalf of the trust, Jackie Holt, director of nursing and midwifery, said:

"We accept that there were short-comings in the care given during Zak's birth and I would like to apologise.

"While the settlement cannot erase the past, we hope it will allow Zak's family to receive the assistance they need.

"I would like to take this opportunity to wish Zak and his family all the best for the future."

– Jackie Holt, Director of nursing and midwifery