£5m payout for girl after hospitals' errors
5:30am Saturday 18th January 2014 in By Elizabeth Mackley
THE Great Western Hospital has owned up to severely disabling Louisa Ravouvou after mistakes were made when she was born.
Louisa, now 10, suffered bleeding on the brain while still in the womb, but failures at both the Great Western Hospital in Swindon and the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford meant that a child that should have lived a normal, healthy life will deal with severe disabilities and is not expected to live beyond her 30s.
The 10-year-old suffered brain damage after she was born when staff at the GWH failed to provide her with a blood transfusion.
After a 10-year battle by her family, yesterday the High Court approved a £5m settlement, which will provide her with care for life.
The money will come from the NHS Litigation Authority, a group set up to deal with negligence claims against the NHS.
Sue Jarvis, a partner at Blake Lapthorn, who leads the firm’s Clinical Negligence team in Oxford acted for Louisa.
She said: “It is a great relief to the family. Yesterday’s settlement means Louisa will receive a package to provide her care for the rest of her life. She needs 24- hour care, so the money will be paid to her each year through a protected trust.
“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.”
Her mother Ana was admitted to the John Radcliffe Hospital in October 2003 after she became concerned Louisa was no longer moving in her womb.
Sue said: “At one point even the staff were concerned because Louisa’s father was called in to the hospital, but when he arrived they said there wasn’t a problem.
“It was then decided that Louisa needed to be delivered as a matter of urgency, and that’s when they were transferred to the Great Western Hospital because a Special Care Baby Unit bed wasn’t available in Oxford.”
It was vital that Louisa received a blood transfusion within half an hour of being born on October 31, 2003 since her mother’s body was compensating for her blood loss in the womb. But staff at GWH failed to do this.
Initially, both hospitals denied the bleed was responsible for Louisa’s disabilities, but in May 2012 both the GWH NHS Foundation Trust and the Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust admitted to breaches of care.
A spokesman for the GWH NHS Foundation Trust said: “The trust has admitted liability and apologised for failings in care prior to Ms Ravouvou’s delivery in 2003.
“We hope that the settlement approved by the High Court will assist Ms Ravouvou in the future.”
Despite her disabilities, which includes severe eczema, blindness and severe learning difficulties, Louisa remains a happy and responsive little girl.
Sue said: “Although Louisa is severely disabled she has a delightful disposition and potential to be able to indicate preferences.”