£3.9m compensation for brain damage caused by dehydration

Compensation of £3,900,000 was awarded to a 35 year old man for brain damage, severe learning difficulties and epilepsy sustained after a hospital failed to monitor his fluid balance following surgery as a young child.

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Case details

Injury details

Four days after birth the claimant underwent abdominal surgery. He was admitted to the paediatric ward for post-operative care.

The surgery carried a risk of dehydration. The consultant surgeon stressed the importance of monitoring his fluid balance afterwards.

Despite this after three weeks he became severely dehydrated. Swelling developed on his brain. He was transferred to Great Ormond Street hospital and treated further.

After treatment the claimant was discharged. It was believed he had made a successful recovery.

At aged 13 he suffered his first epileptic fit. Scans revealed brain damage.

At the age of 21 the claimant's parents sought advice and realised his problems had been caused by the brain injury suffered at birth.

His problems were severe. He could not be left alone for any length of time. He would never be able to work. He had weakness on his right hand side and his right leg was shorter than his left. His epilepsy was serious, but controlled by medication.


It was alleged the hospital were negligent insofar as they failed to provide an appropriate standard of medical care on the paediatric ward following the initial surgery. Fluid balance was not monitored and adequate fluid not provided by mouth or drip despite warnings from the surgeon.

The claimant suffered brain damage as a result. This led to developing epilepsy later in life.

His life was severely restricted. He had severe learning difficulties and would never work or live independently.

He would require constant care for the rest of his life.

Conclusion and settlement

Liability was not admitted but compensation was paid in full.

Compensation of £3,900,000 was accepted by way of an out of Court settlement.

£150,000 of the damages was attributed to "pain, suffering and loss of amenity."

Past and future care was awarded in the sum of £2,676,501.

Loss of earnings for his lifetime was accepted at £541,200.

The remaining compensation included travel expenses, aids and adaptations, assistive technology and interest totalling £532,299.

Read more: clinical negligence compensation claims

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Gaynor Haliday, Legal researcher

Gaynor Haliday, Legal researcher