£10m payout to Harrogate boy left disabled at birth

Kit van Berckel was left severely disabled after medical errors at his birth. (S)
Kit van Berckel was left severely disabled after medical errors at his birth. (S)
  • Harrogate family awarded £9.872m payout
  • Medical errors at his birth left him severely disabled
  • Hearing at High Court in Leeds

A young boy from Harrogate has been awarded almost £10m in a payout from the NHS after medical errors at his birth left him severely disabled.

Medical staff failed to spot that Kit van Berckel, who was born 10 days overdue, was suffering distress before his birth in 2008.

The High Court heard that staff had failed to correctly interpret and act on a pathological CTG pre-birth heart scan.

As a result of this Kit, who is now six years old, was born at Harrogate District Hospital, without a heartbeat and needed resuscitating.

Soon after his birth he was diagnosed with cerebral palsy, which means he can’t sit without help, can’t move on his own, is unable to feed himself and can’t speak.

The £9.872 million payment awarded to the family will provide lifelong care and rehabilitation for Kit.

The youngster, who is a pupil at Richard Taylor School in Harrogate, needs to use eye gaze technology and other hi-tech systems to communicate with his classmates.

His parents Joanna and Charles are building an adapted house with special technology that will allow Kit to open doors, windows and televisions.

After the hearing at the High Court in Leeds, today (Wednesday, May 13), Kit’s mum Joanna said: “Kit is a bright, cheerful and lively boy who continues to amaze us with his energy, positive attitude and determination.

“Now Kit has received a settlement which will provide vital financial security for the rest of his life.

“We were devastated and heartbroken when we found out that Kit’s condition could have been avoided if mistakes had not been made during his delivery.

“There needs to be a fundamental overhaul of accountability and management procedures to minimise the opportunity of negligence caused by medical staff.

“We are deeply grateful to Rachelle Mahapatra and her team at Irwin Mitchell for their committed approach in ensuring Kit’s claim was dealt with professionally and with Kit’s best interests at the heart of the claim.

“Our life can now move forward, focussing upon ensuring the happiness and fulfilment of Kit’s life, and that of his brothers.”

Rachelle Mahapatra, representing the family said: “It’s a huge relief for Kit’s family that the NHS Trust responsible for Kit’s injuries during his birth, have now agreed to a settlement to cover his extensive care and therapy needs both now and for the rest of his life.

“Kit’s was gravely ill at birth after the traumatic delivery and shortly after, he was diagnosed with cerebral palsy.

“Over the past few years, Kit has managed his condition extremely well and is able to walk with the support of a walker.

“His parents have tirelessly devoted their time to ensure his every need is met, that he is well educated and receives the same education any other child his age should.”