22 January 2001
Huge damages for E.coli boy

By FWi staff

A YOUNG boy has been awarded 2.6 million in damages after being brain-damaged by E.coli caught on a visit to a farm.

Tom Dowling, who was six at the time, contracted the disease during a school trip to Bowmans Open Farm in Hertfordshire.

He was paralysed, spent 12 days in a coma and suffered serious and permanent brain damage.

The attack left him paraplegic and with agonising seizures.

He sued Bowmans Farms Ltd and the London Borough of Barnet in the High Court, through his father.

The defendants agreed to settle, jointly accepting 95% liability.

The boys barrister, Lord Brennan QC, had alleged that the farm managers had failed to institute a proper hygiene system to provide washing facilities for visiting children.

E.coli 0157, which is carried in the gut of livestock, can release powerful toxins in the human body.

Serious kidney damage can occur in young children who become infected.