A young British girl who sustained massive, irreparable brain damage after doctors accidentally injected glue into her brain will receive a multimillion-pound payout following a settlement adjudicated Monday by London’s High Court.
Judge William Birtles of the UK’s High Court of London and Wales approved a £2.8 million lump sum (roughly $4.6 million) to be paid by Great Ormond Street Hospital For Children NHS Trust to 13-year-old Maisha Najeeb, who was incapacitated for life after physicians at the hospital mixed up two syringes during a 2010 procedure. Maisha, who was 10 years old at the time, had come in to receive so-called embolization treatment for a rare medical condition that causes her arteries and veins to become entangled and bleed. The procedure took a dark turn when doctors accidentally injected her brain with a type of artery-blocking glue instead of a harmless dye.
Edwina Rawson, counsel for Maisha’s family, called the case a heart-breaking example of malpractice that could easily have been avoided. “If the syringes had been marked-up so the hospital could see which contained glue and which contained dye, then Maisha would not have suffered what is an utterly devastating brain injury,” she said, speaking to The Independent. “Such easily avoidable mistakes should not happen.”
The mistake, which made Maisha lose most of her bodily and cognitive abilities, will also cost the hospital hundreds of thousands of pounds each year in caregiver fees, as the young girl now requires assistance with virtually all daily tasks. The yearly payout will be £383,000 ($634,975) until her 19th birthday, at which point it will increase to £423,000 annually ($701,291) for the rest of her life. Experts speaking to BBC News estimated that, her injuries notwithstanding, Maisha may live well into her sixties.
Sadir Hussain Najeeb, Maisha’s father, said that he and his family were devastated by the incident. "Her life is ruined. All her dreams have been broken," he told reporters. "I hope that by bringing this case, lessons will have been learned to avoid this happening to other families."
When Malpractice Ruins Lives
Maisha’s settlement recalls the equally devastating case of Finley Boyle, a 3-year-old girl who suffered similar damage following a routine dental procedure in Dec. 2013. After three weeks in critical condition, Finley died on Jan. 3 this year. The family has since filed a malpractice suit against dentist Lilly Geyer and her practice in Kailua, Hawaii.
Neil Block, another attorney involved in Monday’s settlement proceedings, told reporters that, although the damage cannot be undone, Maisha’s case may keep it from happening again by prompting new and improved safety measures for similar procedures. “We can't wind the clock back,” he said. “We hope there are now systems and procedures in place to ensure such a tragic mistake cannot be made again.”
He also praised Mr. Najeeb his family for their efforts to rehabilitate their daughter and secure lifelong financial assistance. “It is probably the most intensive cognitive rehabilitation we have ever seen by a family and we would wish to acknowledge everything they have done for Maisha and wish them well for the future.”