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Million-pound payout for man starved of oxygen at birth

By Gloucestershire Echo  |  Posted: November 19, 2012

  • Jacob Dewis is now 20 years old

  • Rachel and Jake Dewis in 2008

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A YOUNG man has won a multi-million-pound payout from West Midlands NHS – plus a public apology – for tragic birth injuries which led to severe brain damage.

Jacob Dewis, 20, can barely walk and has "significant motor problems" due to a period of acute oxygen starvation during his delivery at the Nuneaton Maternity Hospital in September 1992. Mr Dewis, who lived in Charlton Kings and then Kentmere Close, Up Hatherley, claimed compensation from the hospital's managers – West Midlands Strategic Health Authority – over injuries blamed on a disastrous delay in pushing through an emergency delivery.

In London's High Court, the NHS barrister Robert Kellar issued a "sincere and heartfelt apology" for "failing to deliver the standard of care to which he and his family were entitled".

Mr Dewis' lawyers claimed his injuries would have been averted had he been delivered just 10 minutes earlier.

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Instead, he must live with the consequences of severe cerebral palsy and quadriplegia.

His case reached the High Court as Mr Dewis' QC, Robin Oppenheim, asked Mr Justice Underhill to approve a compensation package designed to cover his future care needs.

The judge approved a payout under which Mr Dewis, who is known as Jake, will receive a "lump sum" of £3.5million, plus annual, index-linked and tax-free payments to cover the costs of his care for the rest of his life.

Those payments will begin at £165,000-per-year, stepping up to £240,000 after the age of 50.

Mr Justice Underhill approved the terms, which he said were clearly in Mr Dewis' best interests.

"I am extremely impressed by the care and devotion which the whole family – and Mrs Dewis in particular – have shown over the years," he told the court.

The judge extended Mr Dewis his "best wishes", concluding: "I hope that Jacob's life hereafter will be easier".

Jacob, who went to Bettridge School and the National Star College, was born "grey, flopping and not breathing".

His mother Rachel yesterday said the family was "very pleased" with the decision after fighting for compensation for two years.

■ In another NHS payout case, Teresa Compton, of Charlton Kings, received £375,000 in compensation last year after Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Trust admitted a breach of duty which left her in a wheelchair for the rest of her life. A spinal injury had been left untreated.

â  In 2010, Jon Baud, from Cheltenham, won £4,500 in compensation after a dentist removed the wrong tooth.

OPINION, P8

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