Judge right not to allow identification of disabled boy

A child who had suffered severe disability after being starved of oxygen during treatment has had his anonymity preserved in relation to a personal injury settlement secured on his behalf against Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Trust.

Mr Justice Tugendhat ruled that anonymity should be granted as it was possible that the boy could see his condition improve and have the capacity to make his own decisions and be aware of and adversely affected by publicity surrounding this case and as such was entitled not to be identified in relation to the current proceedings. He also said there was not sufficient public interest in the name being disclosed.

Mediabeak thinks this is a perfectly reasonable and sensible ruling in the current case. To the extent it is desirable to be able to report on and scrutinise such cases, it is not a requirement of such scrutiny and reporting to be able to name the individual - in this case the boy - who has suffered as a result of the mistake which is being compensated for through the litigation. Scrutiny is served by uncovering and knowing that the relevant health authority is having to pay a settlement as a result of a medical procedure that resulted in oxygen starvation. In this sense the public interest is served in the fact of the case having been disclosed. Knowing the boy's name does not add to the scrutiny to an extent that merits the potential risk of him subsequently reading a report about the case that names him and the hurt or suffering that may cause.

So the right result is being able to report the case while being able to preserve the anonymity of a vulnerable person - in this case the boy.

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