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Austrailian Boy, 10, awarded $5.3m for medical malpractice

Posted on Sep 05, 2006

Boy, 10, awarded $5.3m Amanda Watt September 05, 2006 12:00am A TEN-year-old boy left with cerebral palsy after a Queensland public hospital bungled his birth has been awarded $5.3 million in compensation – the state's largest ever personal injury payout. Christopher Hills, who is confined to a wheelchair and will be totally dependent on others for the rest of his life, was brought into Supreme Court Justice Phil McMurdo's Brisbane courtroom yesterday afternoon to hear the announcement. The $5,390,397 figure includes $2.9 million to cover Christopher's future care needs, $215,000 towards therapeutic equipment and $519,000 to compensate him for future income loss. Also of significance was the awarding of $220,000 in general damages – believed to be the highest amount of general damages awarded in Queensland to date under the current Act. The State of Queensland – which ran the Toowoomba Hospital and employed the relevant staff involved in Christopher's June 1996 birth – had previously admitted negligence in his birth, which was the cause of his cerebral palsy. The boy's birth involved an emergency caesarean section following foetal cardiac arrest. He suffered brain damage which left him with permanent cerebral palsy, according to the judgment. Christopher's father Garry Hills told The Courier-Mail last night that the family now "looks forward to getting on with life". A spokeswoman for Toowoomba Hospital declined to comment on the result. Christopher has no intellectual disability and boasts an average to above-average IQ but suffers from significant physical limitations including an inability to stand or sit unsupported. He has no functional hand use, meaning he is unable to feed himself and has severely impaired speech. He is entirely dependent on others for everyday activities such as bathing, dressing and movement. Christopher lives with his parents and his younger sister in Toowoomba. Justice McMurdo noted that the "heavy burden of his care to date has been borne by his parents".

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