Severely disabled man awarded £2.5m damages 47 years after his birth

Peter Atherton

Peter Atherton

A severely disabled man has been awarded £2.5 million High Court damages - 47 years after his birth.

Peter Atherton was white because of asphyxia when he was born at Billinge Hospital in August 1969, and needed resuscitation.

Billinge hospital

Billinge hospital

Left with multiple physical and learning difficulties, Mr Atherton has since received “unstinting care” from his parents, Maurice and Sheila, who are now both in their 70s.

The couple, of Marsh Green, Wigan, had received very little professional assistance, Simeon Maskrey QC told Judge Graham Wood in London on Monday.

They brought a claim against the NHS Commissioning Board in 2008, but the case stalled until 2014, when crucial documents came to light which described Mr Atherton’s birth.

Approving the settlement, which came before a planned hearing to decide the issue of liability, the judge said that Mr and Mrs Atherton had devoted a lifetime to looking after their son, who had “catastrophic” birth injuries.

“They are completely and utterly dedicated to the care of their son. This gives them some assurance he will be very well provided for.”

After the hearing, Mrs Atherton was full of praise for their legal team, and the medical experts who had helped their case.

“The damages mean that we will be able to look after Peter and take it a little bit easier ourselves.”

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