Two boys have each been awarded £2.75m in compensation for separate cases of irreversible brain damage.
In the first case Gethin Davies, now 13, was admitted to hospital when he was just three weeks old. His mother was concerned because he had a high temperature, wasn't feeding well and his left arm and face were twitching. Doctors initially thought he had meningitis. They failed to consider the possibility that he might be suffering from the herpes simplex virus, the treatment for which is the administration of an anti-viral drug.
The virus has left Gethin with severe learning difficulties, quadriplegia and substantial visual, motor and cognitive difficulties. He is completely dependent on the care of others.
Through his mother, Gethin sued the Swansea NHS Trust. Although it was acknowledged that Gethin would probably have suffered some brain damage in any case, it was argued that the extent of his injuries would have been less serious had the proper treatment been provided.
Mr Justice Lloyd Jones agreed that the abnormal results of a lumbar puncture, a diagnostic test, should have alerted doctors to the real cause of Gethin's illness.
The second case involved an unnamed Cornish boy who was born eight weeks prematurely. He later developed acute jaundice, which in turn led to a condition called Kernicterus, a complication of neonatal jaundice which affects the structures of the brain. As a result, he is now seriously disabled and will require lifelong care.
The boy’s father claimed that the hospital should have treated the condition with phototherapy at an early stage.
The hospital disputed the claim. Whilst it did not admit liability, it agreed to settle the case for £2.75m.