Grieving family's distress after NHS asks for compensation to be paid back
- Credit: Katherine Coulson
The grieving family of little girl who suffered brain damage caused by negligence at Ipswich Hospital say they face eviction from home because she has died.
The Ipswich family of Daisy Lowe Martin was involved in a lengthy legal battle against the hospital for negligence and received substantial damages which they used to buy and adapt a home for her.
But now, after she died in 2019 at the age of seven, the health authority wants some of the compensation award back - and as the law stands they intend to recover some of the settlement awarded for the victim's suffering and future care.
And unless her mother Katherine Coulson sells the house and settles the debt they could be forced out of the home created for their daughter and her specialist needs.
Mrs Coulson, 37, says she is now facing a court battle to save her home.
Daisy's family won a seven-figure compensation battle but have now been told that health chiefs want some of the settlement back because Daisy died six weeks before the settlement was signed off.
Health chiefs, their lawyers and insurers had agreed to take 90% responsibility for the round-the-clock care that Daisy required.
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Daisy's family won a £1.8 million interim compensation battle. The money was used to buy a bungalow and adapt it for Daisy’s special needs.
Mrs Coulson said of the latest development: "This has come as a yet another blow - losing Daisy was terrible enough. We had a four-year battle with the hospital before they finally agreed that they were to blame for this life-changing tragedy.
"But because Daisy had some undiagnosed issues before the brain injury the hospital only agreed to take 90% responsibility."
She added: "Now they want £500,000 back but that means we will have to sell the house and have nothing left. It is unfair but apparently it is the law.
"This traumatising experience has had a devastating impact on the entire family and the repercussions are with us every day. Not only are we grieving for a child that had been cruelly denied a future but the battle to get her any help and justice was constant."
Daisy could not move, swallow, communicate or even smile. She had cerebral palsy, suffered constant seizures and had a jejunum tube because her brain injury damaged her stomach and she needed constant medication to help her along.
She also had numerous admissions to hospital and several times had been on life support for weeks at a time.
After seven years the solicitors for the NHS allowed the purchase of a property that was adapted to meet Daisy's special needs.
But the family had moved in for just four weeks when tragedy struck and Daisy died.
The devastated family is still coming to terms with their loss and have to remain strong for the sake of their five-year-old daughter and seven-week-old son.
A spokesman for Ipswich Hospital said a final settlement was delayed because "as with all brain injury cases involving very young children, it is very rarely possible to fully assess the damages element of the claim until the child is much older, into their teens".
But after Daisy's "tragic and unexpected" death in 2019, a "just, fair and appropriate" final settlement was agreed in court in November 2020 and the family had to "repay a small proportion of the substantial interim payment".