Great Ormond Street Hospital settles claim for girl whose brain was injected with glue
Maisha Najeeb, now aged 13, brought a claim for compensation for treatment received at Great Ormond Street Hospital for the accidental injection of glue into her brain, which left her profoundly brain damaged.
At the time, Maisha was a healthy 10-year old girl. She has a rare medical condition, arterio-venous malformation ('AVM'), that involves arteries and veins getting tangled and occurs in about 1% of people. AVMs can be serious when they result in a bleed. However, Maisha was able to lead a very normal life. She had had 5 bleeds that had required treatment by embolisation, which were without complication.
The embolisation procedure involves an injection of glue (an embolic agent) to block off the bleeding blood vessels, and an injection of a harmless dye (contrast) to check the flow of blood around the brain and head.
On 2 June 2010, Maisha had a bleed which required embolisation. Tragically, there was no system in place of distinguishing the syringes containing the glue from the syringes containing the contrast, and they got mixed-up during the procedure. This resulted in glue, instead of dye, being wrongly injected into the artery to Maisha's brain. The glue caused catastrophic and permanent brain damage.
Maisha's father instructed Edwina Rawson, medical negligence partner at Fieldfisher, to pursue a claim for compensation against Great Ormond Street Hospital.
Great Ormond Street Hospital admitted negligence and that it had caused all of Maisha's difficulties. Judgment was entered on 1 March 2012.
Maisha needs care and assistance with all daily tasks, day and night. She is in a wheelchair and has lost the vast majority of her bodily and cognitive abilities. She suffers from painful leg spasms.
The claim was due to go to trial next month to decide how much compensation Maisha should receive. But at a meeting between the parties, Maisha's lawyers reached an agreement with Great Ormond Street Hospital.
The agreed settlement was for an upfront lump sum payment of £2.8 million, and in addition £383,000.00 per year until Maisha is aged 19. This will then increase to £423,000.00 per year for as long as she lives. This agreement was approved by the Royal Courts of Justice in London on 27 January 2014. The amounts are based upon experts' assessments of Maisha's needs, and will be spent on her care and accommodation.
A central issue in the case was the impact that the brain injury and the pre-existing AVM would have on her life expectancy. The parties were not able to reach agreement about this. The life expectancy put forward by the expert for Maisha was 64 years; however, Great Ormond Street Hospital put forward a much lower life expectancy. The level of the overall lifetime payment depends on how long she lives as payments will be made yearly.
Edwina Rawson, the solicitor said:
"What is so heart-breaking about this case is that the injury was so avoidable. If the syringes had been marked-up so the hospital could see which contained glue and which contained dye, then Maisha would not have suffered what is an utterly devastating brain injury. Such easily avoidable mistakes should not happen."
Sadir Hussain, Maisha's father said:
"We are sad and devastated by what happened to our daughter. Her life is ruined. All her dreams have been broken. I hope that by bringing this case, lessons will have been learned to avoid this happening to other families. We are grateful that agreement has been reached with Great Ormond Street to ensure that Maisha's care needs are met."