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Royal Free agrees payout to brain damaged baby

PUBLISHED: 16:01 24 April 2008 | UPDATED: 14:59 07 September 2010

By Tan Parsons A BABY GIRL who was left badly disabled after suffering complications during her birth at the Royal Free Hospital will receive a substantial payout from the NHS. Five-year-old Alisha Ahmed, from the Vale in Golders Green, suffered oxygen st

By Tan Parsons

A BABY GIRL who was left badly disabled after suffering complications during her birth at the Royal Free Hospital will receive a substantial payout from the NHS.

Five-year-old Alisha Ahmed, from the Vale in Golders Green, suffered oxygen starvation around the time of her birth at the Pond Street hospital in March 2003.

It left her badly disabled with severe cerebral palsy and dependant on the care of others for her day-to-day needs.

Her mother Urooj Saeed Ahmed launched a damages claim against the Royal Free, claiming the "profound hypoxic insult" her daughter suffered should have been spotted earlier and her birth brought forward.

Her lawyers claim that if it had been noticed, the baby would not have been so badly disabled.

The hospital has contested the claim, arguing that once foetal distress was recognised, Alisha's delivery was a prompt one.

The case was due to be tried on Monday by a High Court judge, Mr Justice MacDuff, but was called off when the hospital agreed, without admitting liability, that Alisha will be compensated on the basis of 50 per cent of her claim.

The amount of damages has yet to be assessed, but millions of pounds have been awarded in many similar cerebral palsy cases in the past.

The Royal Free was named as one of the worst hospitals in the country for maternity services by the Healthcare Commission in November 2007.

The findings ranked the hospital as 10th from the bottom in a list of 148 across the country.

Of the mothers interviewed at the Royal Free at the time, more than a fifth said the care they received during labour was only fair or poor - compared with four per cent at the best hospitals.

Last year an investigation by the Ham&High resulted in a review of maternity services at the Hampstead hospital, following an inquest into the death of Riley Croft who died minutes after being born.

The story prompted dozens of other unhappy mothers to come forward.

Complaints included mothers being administered the wrong amounts of drugs, rude midwives, mums being left for hours on end without doctors' or nursing care, and staff denying patients a glass of water during labour.

Two midwives ended up being reported to the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) on negligence charges.

The hospital insists overall standards have now been improved

tan.parsons@hamhigh.co.uk

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