An English man who was left brain damaged after a hospital delayed diagnosing his meningitis has been awarded $5.35 million.
Mark Thomas, 20, has the mind of a child and will never work or be able to live on his own.
Britain's National Health Service trust, which administers the country's government-subsidized health care, has admitted liability and the money will help pay for his lifelong care.
Thomas, from Walsall in the West Midlands of England, had been a healthy and active youngster but at the age of 12 started suffering from ear infections and complained about a stiff neck.
He could not stand bright lights and was constantly tired.
In February 2002, doctors took a blood test and sent him home. Five days later his condition got worse.
His parents, Elaine and Dave, took him back to Walsall Manor Hospital where they claim a nurse told them his condition was not serious enough and they were using emergency services inappropriately.
The couple demanded a second opinion. Only then were the blood test results reviewed — and meningitis was confirmed.
The late diagnosis left Thomas with brain damage which affects his short-term memory.
"I have trouble remembering things," he said. He pauses to recall details of his condition, but forgets what he meant to say.
Walsall Manor Hospital apologized to Thomas and his family and said it deeply regrets the delay in diagnosing his condition.
"If they'd have acted earlier Mark could have been admitted to the hospital, given antibiotics and Mark would have been fine," said the family's lawyer, Tim Deeming.