Birth trauma boy’s parents tell of ordeal

DM16117559a.jpg Compensation for brain damaged boy Thomas 7, pictured with his parents Samantha and Christopher Hord. Photo by Derek Martin SUS-160515-184705008
DM16117559a.jpg Compensation for brain damaged boy Thomas 7, pictured with his parents Samantha and Christopher Hord. Photo by Derek Martin SUS-160515-184705008

The parents of a Crawley boy who suffered severe brain damage at birth have urged families to ‘always question’ doctors.

A High Court judge ruled that Thomas Hord, 7, receive a multi-million pound NHS compensation package after he was deprived of oxygen for 20 minutes at East Surrey Hospital.

Christopher and Samantha Hord won the praise of a senior judge after Surrey and Sussex NHS Trust agreed to settle a claim.

Mr Hord said: “At the time you listen to what the doctors tell you, think they know best and assume they are making the right decisions for you.

“Now I always question everything.”

Surrey and Sussex NHS Trust admitted liability after Thomas, who lives with his parents and two sisters in Pound Hill, was left with severe cerebral palsy, epilepsy and no speech. But his ability to think was relatively unharmed and he goes to a special school. Chris, 42, said: “He communicates with his eyes. He has delayed brain function because you learn by playing. He gets frustrated, not being able to run around.”

A lump sum of £2.5million plus annual payments starting at £100,000 a year and rising to £245,000 settlement was approved by a High Court on May 10. The sum included an interim payment for his specially adapted home. The rest went into a trust fund for Thomas. The installments will pay for a full time carer, therapists and mobility aids including wheelchairs and bodysuits. Chris said it would pay for all Thomas’ healthcare needs but said it included a ‘ridiculously small’ £280,000 of compensation to his son.

Sam, who gave birth by Caesarian, suffered complications when she went into labour in March 2009. Chris said medics had given her treatments to encourage a natural birth but did not notice Thomas was being deprived of oxygen.

Chris said his son’s condition was not diagnosed for six months.

“Not knowing what is wrong with your child is just the hardest thing to do,” he said. “All babies cry sometimes and you don’t know - but maybe for an hour or something - but to have it constantly for six months was very draining.”

High Court judge Mr Justice Warby said: “I would like to express my admiration for the parents’ work and devotion to the care of their son, particularly in light of the pressures of work and family matters.”

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