NSW mother awarded compensation after death of baby boy

THE mother of a baby boy who died following a traumatic birth at a Sydney hospital has been awarded hundreds of thousands in damages.

Vanessa Rasmussen held her newborn son Kaden in her arms until he died at the Liverpool in August, 2007, the NSW Supreme Court heard.

She and her husband Bradley made the heartbreaking decision to turn off the infant's ventilator four days after he suffered brain damage due to "complications" at birth.

The court heard that in the days that followed her son's death, Ms Rasmussen became "obsessed" with having his body removed from hospital and taken to a funeral home.

She was so distressed by the bedroom that would have been Kaden's, that her husband "packed up everything" so she wouldn't have physical reminders of the tragedy.

Her husband was forced to leave the army ahead of a tour to Afghanistan because he knew she would be unable to cope without him.

The couple subsequently sued the Western Sydney Health District for medical negligence.

Ms Rasmussen claimed she suffered nervous shock arising from the loss of her first-born son, including non-economic loss, loss of earning capacity, damages for domestic care and assistance and treatment expenses.

In handing down her judgement Justice Christine Adamson said "no amount of money can restore her loss or compensate her adequately for it...the grief she suffers is lifelong".

She noted the joy that should have accompanied the births of the couple's two daughters had been "tainted by grief".

While she did not accept the event had hindered her capacity to work in the future, Justice Adamson said Ms Rasmussen had been "substantially affected by the loss".

She ordered the health district to pay out a total of $366,903.60.


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