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Case Study

Record £19m settlement for 9-year-old after Kings College Hospital Trust accepts 85% liability

Samantha Critchley achieved a multi-million pound settlement in April 2018 for a nine-year-old girl left catastrophically disabled following failures in her treatment at the time of and following her birth.

The girl, known as JKL, was born with severe jaundice at the Princess Royal University Hospital, Kent (part of Kings College Hospital Trust) caused by blood group incompatibility which required specialist care and monitoring. 

Knowledge of the blood condition led doctors to decide to deliver JKL at around 34 weeks gestation, despite her mother wanting to be delivered at a different hospital with a specialist neonatal unit. 

Despite her prematurity, JKL was delivered in good condition, but then suffered neonatal jaundice and a build-up of such high levels of bilirubin in her body that she needed a full blood exchange transfusion. A delay in performing the transfusion meant JKL suffered bilirubin encephalopathy - damage to her brain and auditory neuropathy. 

Samantha argued that had medical staff performed a total ‘blood exchange’ more quickly, JKL would have escaped permanent injury. 

Liability was strongly fought by the Trust but a settlement of 85% of full damages was eventually agreed, plus acknowledgement of shortcomings in care. During the litigation, Samantha obtained interim payments to set up a care and therapy package for JKL, who now has a specially adapted home to properly meet her needs long-term.

Approving settlement in the High Court, the judge acknowledged that JKL has insight into her condition and, were it not for her injuries, would have led a very promising life. He praised her parents for their ‘wonderful’ care in very difficult circumstances.

JKL’s parents said “We have immense gratitude for all that you and your team have done … over these past few years. Before we met you our futures loomed before us with such uncertainty and fear. You guided us through the most immense process, supporting us every step of the way.”