Disabled Mansfield man wins High Court damages to fund his care

NEWS: News.
NEWS: News.

The mother of a Mansfield man who has been disabled from birth won the admiration of the High Court as a top judge approved a damages award to help fund his care.

Mathew Eacott suffered devastating injuries when his brain was starved of oxygen during his birth, leaving him suffering from a host of serious disabilities.

The 26-year-old has cerebral palsy, serious mobility problems, limited vision and behavioural difficulties, and is expected to be wheelchair-bound by the time he is in his mid-50s.

But the High Court in London heard that, ever since his birth at King’s Mill Hospital in 1986, Mathew’s mum, Wendy, has devoted herself to providing for his every need.

NHS barrister, Paul Rees QC, said: “What is very clear to anyone who has read the reports on this matter is the contribution that has been made by the claimant’s mother.

“She has had a pivotal role and will continue to have a very important role.

“It is right she should know that her commitment has been of the very greatest importance to her son.”

Mathew’s disabilities mean he needs round-the-clock care and his behavioural difficulties, caused by the brain damage, can trigger aggressive outbursts.

Through his mum, he sued the NHS East Midlands Strategic Health Authority, which has since been succeeded by the NHS Commissioning Board.

Although there was no admission of liability, lawyers on both sides agreed a settlement which would see Mathew receive half of the full value of his claim.

The family’s barrister, John Cherry QC, told Mrs Justice Slade that Mathew had received “very little support of any kind”, other than that provided by Mrs Eacott.

“She is a very determined lady, who has been conscientious beyond belief,” he said.

Approving an undisclosed compensation package to help fund his care, Mrs Justice Slade paid tribute to the mum, who sat in court for the hearing.

“I add my recognition of the enormous part that you have played in caring for Mathew and, no doubt, will play in the future,” she told the court.

“Anybody reading the papers in this case can have nothing but admiration for all that you have done.

“The court hopes that this settlement will assist in the care of Mathew in the future.”

Mathew’s damages award will be paid into the Court of Protection to be invested to help fund the care he will need over the rest of his life. Although the sums involved have been kept private, millions of pounds are routinely awarded by the courts in similar cases.