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pounds 2m for mother's `preventable' death.

Byline: Jan Colley

The family of an exceptional businesswoman, wife and mother who died an ``entirely preventable'' death was yesterday awarded pounds 2 million agreed High Court damages.

Lily Baden-Powell had already combined high-flying careers in law and banking with caring for four children under eight by the time she died at the age of 38 in August 1995.

Mrs Baden-Powell, whose widower, Harry, is the greatnephew of the founder of scouting, had fallen ill with stomach pain at Heathrow Airport a month earlier, the family's counsel, Paul Rees QC, told Mr Justice Rougier in London.

A scan revealed severe pancreatitis caused by a gallstone and Mrs Baden-Powell was transferred to Manchester Royal Infirmary for treatment.

The family's case was that within four days of admission, she should have been operated on to excise dead tissue as it had a great susceptibility to infection.

Mr Rees said that the danger was obvious but the operation was not carried out for 16 days -- ten days before Mrs BadenPowell's death which was ``not only tragic but entirely preventable''.

The case against Central Manchester Healthcare NHS Trust, which was fully defended with no admissions made or apology offered, was settled in February this year on the basis of 80 per cent liability, and adjourned until yesterday.

The authority relied on the argument that there was a reputable school of thought backing conservative management of Mrs Baden-Powell's condition.

Mr Rees said that the effect of the tragedy upon the BadenPowell children -- Felix, Alexa, Ariadne and Venetia -- was traumatic.

Harry Baden-Powell, who married his wife in 1979 after they met as students at the London School of Economics, dealt with his own grief while deploying ``quite wonderful'' reserves of fortitude and commitment in looking after them.

Mr Baden-Powell, aged 46, of Napier Road, Kensington, west London, listened as Mr Rees described his late wife as a ``truly exceptional woman''.

Mr Rees said that after the LSE, Mrs Baden-Powell became a barrister before moving to New York and eventually joining her husband in the financial world.

After her children were born between 1986 and 1990, she returned to work in London in the emerging Indian equities market before embarking on a business venture to set up a chain of 25 children's nurseries.

After the judge had approved the award, the Baden-Powell lawyers, Kingsley Napley, said that her death caused the family a ``catastrophic drop in income''.

At the time Mrs Baden-Powell died, she was providing the family's income.

They said that the sum, which represents the family's loss of dependency on Mrs BadenPowell, was the highest ever award in a fatal accidents case in this country and the highest ever following the death of a woman.
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Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Dec 11, 2001
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