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Compensation for family of child born with severe disabilities due to medical negligence

Monday, October 21st, 2013

Mistakes made when Mattia Dessi was being delivered have had a drastic effect upon the rest of his life, leaving him suffering from severe spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy, a condition which encompasses being blind, epileptic and unable to sit, speak or walk without help.

The birth took place at Watford General Hospital in 2004 when Mattia, who is now nine years old, was delivered via an emergency Caesarean section after his mother had been in labour for seven hours. He had still not taken his first breath for five minutes after he was born.

The Dessi family maintain that medical staff delivering him failed to act quickly enough while he was still in the womb and suffering distress. They feel that this delay starved Mattia’s brain of oxygen, leading to his injuries.

On the basis of this belief they launched a claim for compensation which was settled in the Royal Courts of Justice in The Strand, as a High Court Judge announced a compensation settlement consisting of a lump sum of £1.6 million together with yearly payments of £156,000 until he is 19. Following this, he will be paid an amount of £206,000 annually for the rest of his life.

The care which Mattia requires is such that his parents have suffered huge financial problems as a result, with them having to alternate day and night shifts to ensure that someone was always home to look after him. Mr Dessi worked during the night as a carer, whilst Mrs Dessi had a day job as a cleaner, via which they earned enough to keep their heads above water.

Speaking after the settlement, Mrs Dessi said: “It’s always been a worry about how Mattia will be cared for in the future. We hope to be there for him but if we are not then this settlement means we know he will be taken care of.”

The hospital trust concerned, West Herts NHS, admitted they’d failed in their duty of care but denied, in the first place at least, that this breach had been responsible for Mattia’s condition.

The case was due to go to trial but proceedings were halted after a meeting between lawyers representing both sides during which they thrashed out a deal which compromised on Mattia receiving 85% of the amount being claimed.

The family were represented by Sue Jarvis, and after the agreement had been reached, she said: “Mr and Mrs Dessi are very devoted parents who have made huge sacrifices to look after Mattia. This award will ensure that he has the appropriate care in the short term and also help to reassure the family that Mattia will be provided for in their future.”

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