NHS negligence: nine-year-old girl receives £5.5m after hospital meningitis failings

By Malcolm Underhill

Colchester Hospital has awarded a nine-year-old girl a £5.5m compensation package after delays in treating her meningitis when she was a baby left her with brain damage and suffering from epilepsy, requiring lifetime care. Aged eight months, Ellie Sutton was discharged by hospital staff despite her having a recorded temperature of 39.9°.

Her family’s lawyer’s argued that, in doing so, the hospital failed to follow its own guidelines, which recommend that any child with a temperature greater than 38° be admitted and monitored hourly. Ellie’s mother Sarah took her back to the hospital later that evening, but even though a doctor recommended her condition be examined further a medical review was not conducted until the ward rounds 11 hours later.

Colchester Hospital University NHS Foundation Trust admitted that, without the delays in treatment, Ellie would have made a full recovery. Ellie’s parents were at the High Court in London to hear the trust apologise and state that nothing can ‘turn the clock back but these payments will give peace of mind and secure Ellie’s future’. A £2.4m lump sum, along with lifelong annual payments of up to £119,000, will cover her 24-hour care, along with transport costs, therapies and specialist equipment…

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