A triplet has won a £1.5 million NHS payout for being struck almost blind by a ‘very seriously negligent’ medical treatment after her premature birth.
Alice Warner, now 13, fell prey to a condition called Retinopathy of Prematurity at Bedford Hospital in the first few days of her life.
She is blind in one eye, and has limited vision in the other, but that has not stopped the “able and determined” youngster doing well at school.
Her barrister, Philippa Whipple QC, told London’s High Court that appropriate treatment could have saved Alice’s sight after she was born one of triplets.
However, the care she received was negligent and Bedfordshire Hospital NHS Trust admitted full liability for her injuries in 2004.
Approving the £1.5 million settlement of Alice’s claim, Mr Justice Walker demanded a public apology from the Trust, describing it as a case of ‘very serious negligence’.
And NHS barrister, Nadia Whittaker, responded: “Of course, the Trust admitted at a very early stage that there had been negligence and has co-operated at every stage of the case. I would, of course, apologise to the family and Alice for all that she has been through as a result of that negligence.”
Earlier, Miss Whipple said Alice had, with the loving assistance of her 46-year-old mother, Jane, and her wider family, conquered her disability and achieved great things at her mainstream school.
However, the QC added that she would always have to live with the threat that, in time, she might lose her sight completely.
Giving the green light to the settlement, Mr Justice Walker said: “I am very glad that today, in open court, the NHS Trust has apologised to Alice and her family for what happened and all that they have had to go through.”
Ruling that the compromise was in Alice’s best interests, he added: “She is able and determined and has achieved great things. I pay tribute to her for coping in her own way with what happened to her. I also pay tribute to her family, and in particular her mother, for doing everything possible to assist Alice in her life.”
Alice was in court to hear the settlement approved, along with her mother and her grandfather, Ken.
The family still lives in Bedford.