To think this mother deserves to keep this money?

(125 Posts)
SameDifference Fri 17-May-13 01:18:54

Hi all,

You may have heard of the mother who has been asked to repay over half the compensation payment she received to care for her son, who had spina bifida which the hospital did not spot during her pregnancy, after his death.

As a disabled person who has heard of several people getting similar payments, I've never heard of anyone having to repay any such money in this situation.

I don't think she should have to repay the money. I've written on the case at my website: samedifference1.com/2013/05/16/mother-asked-to-repay-compensation-after-son-with-spina-bifida-dies/

This is not advertising for my site- I simply want opinions from people who hopefully have no personal connection to disability.

After writing the linked post, I read a Daily Mail article saying that the compensation was fought for because the mother was not given the choice to terminate her pregnancy.

Booyhoo Fri 17-May-13 01:34:55

what an awful time for that family. they really dont need the extra stress of this.

what i dont understand is the NHS trust's point about 'managing the public purse'. surely that money had already been paid out and so was already 'lost' to the NHS (as in the budgets have been worked out without that money being factored in as it was already gone). the fact that the child has now passed away does not suddenly cost them more. it will actually cost them less as he wont need the use of NHS services anymore. and what's to say it hasn't already cost the family over £705k to care for him until his death?

NewAtThisMalarky Fri 17-May-13 01:46:57

I'm in two minds over this one.

I'm not convinced that compensation should be paid because her sons condition wasn't spotted before he was born. As a result of this compensation, she has an adapted house that she wouldn't otherwise have, specifically to help care for a child who no longer needs those facilities. The compensation was gives for a specific purpose and length of time, and sadly they only need it for half that length of time.

It's an awful situation, I feel for the mother - but I can see why, in this case, clawing back the money might be seen as appropriate.

MidniteScribbler Fri 17-May-13 02:04:18

I don't agree with compensation for having a child born with disabilities. It's too much of a slippery slope for me. You take a risk when you have children, and there are many many situations you cannot foresee. Your child could develop an illness, or be injured in an accident. It's something you need to accept when falling pregnant, and no one can tell the future. I think that "compensation" implies that someone has been wronged, and I can never believe that the life of a child can ever be wrong.

That said, I think that anyone with disabilities (or parents caring for children with disabilities) should be able to access funding for their needs. I'm so proud that Australia (that horrible redneck country!) has just passed groundbreaking legislation, the NDIS, which will do just that for its citizens.

cantspel Fri 17-May-13 02:23:58

I can see both sides to this one.
The money was paid for the childs ongoing care needs. The child no longer has these needs so the money should go back to pay for the care needs of another child.

MummyDuckAndDuckling Fri 17-May-13 02:45:04

What Midnightscrubbler said.

MummyDuckAndDuckling Fri 17-May-13 02:45:25

scribbler blushblushblushblush

nooka Fri 17-May-13 02:46:34

I would imagine that there was some sort of claw back provision in the original payment made, otherwise legally the trust wouldn't have a leg to stand on. In fact as NHS compensation is paid for through a national pooled scheme it would not be up to the trust in any case, this will be a legal process run by the NHS Litigation Scheme. I don't think that they are particularly playing hardball, as they've said they will give her reasonable time to repay them but the money was to compensate the mother for the unexpected cost of looking after her son, and sadly it is a cost that she will no longer have to bear.

Here is a source for the background that's not Daily Mail www.teeslaw.co.uk/case-studies/medical-negligence-wrongful-birth.aspx

nooka Fri 17-May-13 02:49:24

My initial thought was how horrible to sue for 'wrongful birth' but the mother was at higher risk of birth defects because she was taking epilepsy medication so the trust probably should have taken better care with the prenatal checks (it was a settlement though so difficult to tell if there was actual negligence). It sounds as though the little boy was very seriously disabled.

meddie Fri 17-May-13 04:54:34

From a strictly unemotional viewpoint. The money was not given to compensate the mother , it was payment for her son's ongoing care needs. sadly they no longer exist. Why would she then need to keep 375,000 pounds?
Currently the NHS is under huge financial pressure and that money can be used for treatment for others who need it. Who's operation should we cancel to allow her to keep these funds that she no longer requires?
I feel for her, its a terrible thing to lose a child. but that doesn't entitle her to keep 375,000 pounds of public funds because of it.

greenfolder Fri 17-May-13 06:27:26

A relatively short time ago, the claimant had one bite of the cherry and had to try and assess their lifetime care needs in one lump sum. This was wrong, given the unknowns eg the effect of inflation, actual life span, the cost of care and assistance, aids etc. So the system was changed to enable insurers to fund lifetime care needs and for claimants not to have to do complex deals. Even the most lifechamging injuries attract only around 100000 in compensation for pain and suffering. The headline grabbing figures reflect future loss-such as earnings. This has to be a 2 way process. A settlement for care and assistance that is not needed should be repaid.

greenfolder Fri 17-May-13 06:31:57

And having read the non daily mail link its clear that her sols agree-the payments being described as interim. Won't read the mail but I fail to see the controversy?

katiecubs Fri 17-May-13 06:36:07

I agree with Meddie - whilst very sad for the mum the money was for her son not her. It should go back to the NHS who need the funds.

Morgause Fri 17-May-13 06:43:16

The NHS does not have a bottomless pit of money. If the "need" for the money is no longer there then the money should go back to the NHS.

There was a case locally where an adult, brain damaged at birth, won a massive negligence case. Some of the money was used to buy a huge house where she could live "independently" in an annex - with her parents and one sibling living in the rest of the house. Her parents and sister were also her carers, taking turns to sleep in the annex.

Sadly she died not long after they moved in. The house, willed to her parents, sold for £750,000 and they also inherited the rest of her cash payment. It had been estimated that she would have a normal life span when the compensation was awarded. So it really was a huge amount of money.

It's right that compensation was made but I don't think it's right that the family made a profit - the cash was not awarded to them.

DesperatelySeekingSedatives Fri 17-May-13 06:43:34

I know someone who's daughter was awarded a vast sum of money as the hospital screwed up and the daughter has serious disabilties because of it. The money was paid into a trust and a commitee hand out money to her and her family every now and then (not sure how often it is) to pay for her care. No one else in the family directly benefits (its not spent on big tellies and holidays basically but hoists and wheelchairs and physio sessions for the disabled child).

Was this money given in the same way? if so while I can see the mothers side of things I do think the NHS should have it back now that the boy has sadly died. It was his money to pay for his care because of their fuck up. He is no longer alive so doesnt need it.

MortifiedAdams Fri 17-May-13 06:52:48

Maybe monies won through a case of wrongful birth/neglect in.labour etc wjere a baby is left disabled, should be paid per month for every month it is required.

No claiming money back - simply "we agree this disability requires X amount per.month to cater for their specific needs" and it is paid every month the recipient is alive?

norkmonster Fri 17-May-13 06:57:33

This is not a case where there was a final settlement figure that the NHS are now trying to claw back - the monies paid have all been interim (ie paid before the conclusion of the case) and as I understand it Calum died before the final settlement - hence the ability of the NHS to get the money back.

janey68 Fri 17-May-13 06:59:48

The money should be clearly for care needs, not as some sort of monetary 'compensation ' for the mother. Therefore I don't see that she 'deserves ' to keep it: in fact the whole concept of her deserving something is quite distasteful. She lost a child which is heartbreaking but no money can ever compensate that.

Roshbegosh Fri 17-May-13 07:06:41

There is no reason for her to make money out of this now that the baby has died. I am not sure why it was awarded in the first place, spina bifida was missed on the scan which meant she couldn't decide to have an abortion on the basis of spina bifida but while the sonographer should have seen it, in fact no guidelines claim it is detected 100% of the time.

JumpingJackSprat Fri 17-May-13 07:16:37

I read yesterday that the house she bought with the money was worth £450k before being adapted. i wonder if anyone gave her advice on the best way to use the money as i wouldnt have thought using that much for a house is a good idea, as now she has to try and sell it. and no she doesnt "deserve" to keep the money, its not for her.

lougle Fri 17-May-13 07:24:35

I have a DD with a disability and find wrongful birth cases hard to get my head around emotionally.

Sad as it is, the money should be returned. It isn't the nhs's fault that she bought a house with it.

CecilyP Fri 17-May-13 07:37:56

No, I don't think that she deserves to keep this money and, yes, I have heard of other cases where part of compensation award has had to be returned when a child has sadly died.

It was unfortunate that the mother chose to spend a such a large part of the settlement on buying an expensive house, but if she owns the house outright, while it is sad that she may have to move, it is excessively emotional to talk about being made homeless - homeless people are people who have nothing to pay for another home.

Hissy Fri 17-May-13 07:38:27

Depending on where you live £450k is not the hugest amount of money for a house.

I read that the NHS is not forcing her to sell her house, and other options are being worked out. I also saw that she's not the sole owner of the house't there are trustees involved.

I haven't seen if she's spent the whole payment, is that the case?

CloudsAndTrees Fri 17-May-13 07:47:07

Horrible horrible situation. sad

The money does have to be repaid, as sadly the mother does not have a reason to need it any more. It's wrong that it had to be paid in the first place, if we had a system that provided for disabled people and their carers properly she wouldn't have needed to fight for compensation because she didn't have the opportunity to abort. She shouldn't have had to have that fight in the first place, and it shouldn't be called compensation. She would have needed the money whether his spina bifida had been diagnosed in utero or not had she decided to still have her baby.

I can see that 'compensation' may be fair when disability is caused by a mismanaged birth, but that should be on top of the money that should be received by a disabled person and their carer as standard.

TroublesomeEx Fri 17-May-13 09:20:26

If a disability isn't caused by medical negligence, then I'm not sure why the NHS would be compensating anyway.

She should have had adequate financial support from the government, but not in the form of compensation because the NHS was not responsible for it.

It's not supposed to be an 'apology' payment to the parent.

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