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Family tells of relief at end of brain injury payout fight
10:30am Friday 13th September 2013 in News
THE family of a woman who suffered brain damage after hospital failings have spoken of their relief after a seven-figure payout.
Sophie Collins, 22, from East Oxford, was injured in a car crash when she was 11 years old.
She was taken to the John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford, but it took days for doctors to realise that her bowel had been ruptured.
Her brain was starved of oxygen and the initial prognosis was that she would be left blind and paraplegic.
Although Miss Collins is now studying at university in Wales, she needs four support workers and suffers from chronic fatigue, seizures and memory loss.
Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust admitted negligence and settled on Wednesday at the High Court, London, paying out an undisclosed lump sum and an annual payment for care bills.
Mother Shenda Collins, 55, of Tawney Street, East Oxford, said: “I am relieved. It has been a long 10 years.
“We are satisfied with the compensation, but it goes without saying that we would much prefer for this to have never happened.
“It has had a devastating effect on all our lives, but Sophie is very determined and tenacious and she has done very, very well. I am very proud of her.”
Miss Collins was a back seat passenger in a car driven by her grandmother when it was involved in a crash on the B4009 in Oxfordshire in 2003.
She was taken to the John Radcliffe with a back injury, and grazing and bruising to her abdomen and pelvis.
Mrs Collins said: “They did not realise that she had ruptured her bowel until day five.
“When she went into theatre she was almost dead because she had her bowel contents in her blood stream.
“The initial prognosis was she would be blind and paraplegic. She was like that for several weeks.”
She added: “It was just awful. She had a brain scan that showed complete damage.”
Now Sophie, a former Cheney School pupil, is studying part-time for a degree in psychology and counselling. But her fatigue means she has to take a blow-up bed into exams so she can sleep without leaving the room. A two-hour exam can take her eight hours.
And, although she last suffered a convulsive epileptic seizure in 2005, she often has smaller seizures that can leave her exhausted.
Mrs Collins hopes the case will raise awareness for brain injuries. She said: “It affects everything. Sophie makes a very good first impression, which actually becomes a curse because people just do not understand.”
Mrs Collins added: “Now we can concentrate on making the most of life, and hope that that never happens to anyone again.”
Prof Edward Baker, OUHT medical director, said: “The trust has apologised to Miss Collins and her family. We hope that the agreed settlement will provide security and greater independence for her in the coming years.”
He added: “Emergency medicine has changed enormously in the last 10 years. This is partly in response to cases like Miss Collins where important diagnoses were missed.
“These days, patients are given a wide variety of diagnostic scans and tests on arrival in the emergency department where appropriate, precisely to pick up the sort of internal injury that is not always visible.”
OTHER recent claims against OUHT:
- Doctors failed to detect Abingdon resident Ana Ravouvou’s unborn baby had bleeding on the brain, leading to Louisa being born with severe disabilities.
- After an eight-year legal battle, OUHT admitted fault in June 2012.
- Dontay Crooks, from Blackbird Leys, was left with brain damage by complications during his birth at the John Radcliffe Hospital in 2005. The youngster, who has epilepsy and needs 24-hour care, received a £1m lump sum and annual payments to cover the cost of his care for life in 2011.
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