NHS pays �1million to Suffolk teenager

A “wonderful” Suffolk teenager left facing a lifetime of acute disability due to a negligent delay in her birth nearly 20 years ago has won an NHS compensation settlement worth more than �1million.

Jonathan Schofield

A “wonderful” Suffolk teenager left facing a lifetime of acute disability due to a negligent delay in her birth nearly 20 years ago has won an NHS compensation settlement worth more than �1million.

Kersha Sanders, 19, from Bury St Edmunds was born five weeks premature at West Suffolk Hospital in June 1990 but due to a tragic delay in the delivery her brain was starved of oxygen.

Despite staging a recovery in the hospital's special baby care unit Miss Sanders suffers from cerebral palsy and is now confined to a wheelchair with severe motor and language disabilities.

At the High Court yesterday her barrister, Christina Lambert QC, told the judge that experts had said if she had been born just 33 minutes earlier she would have escaped permanent injury.

The court heard that Miss Sanders' intellect was spared and she was now studying sports performance at college and winning glowing reports through her determination.

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Miss Sanders smiled from her wheelchair as Mr Justice MacDuff approved a settlement for her case which guarantees her financial security for life - including approximately �220,000 for her "pain, suffering and loss of amenity".

Mr Justice MacDuff's admiration for the teenager was such that he invited her back to the normally off-limits judicial corridor at London's Royal Courts of Justice for a personal chat.

He paid tribute to the "wonderful" teenager's courage and "the depth of human spirit" that has enabled her to make the most of her life.

He added: "When one sees what is in the newspapers nowadays, it is very comforting to know that there are people around like Kersha's parents".

Through her mother, Louise Sanders, Miss Sanders sued the hospital's managers - the West Suffolk Hospitals NHS Trust - who Miss Lambert said had admitted liability at an early stage.

The exact terms of today's settlement were kept confidential, however, lawyers confirmed Miss Sanders' payout was in excess of �1 million. The sum is likely to be substantially more than that as the money will be needed to fund her care and will have to last her a lifetime.

Miss Sanders' solicitor, Trefine Maynard, said after the hearing: "With the encouragement and support of her parents and her own enthusiasm and stamina, Miss Sanders has always lived a full and active life.

"The West Suffolk Hospitals NHS Trust has admitted liability. Since then, the time has been spent calculating and agreeing an appropriate compensation figure. This will be paid by a lump sum to be used throughout her life for equipment and her ongoing care needs.

"Miss Sanders' parents have said how grateful they are for the protection that this gives her throughout her life".