A teenager left facing a lifetime of acute disability due to oxygen starvation during her birth at Solihull Maternity Hospital yesterday won a #1.5 million compensation deal at the High Court.

Rachel Taylor, who will celebrate her 19th birthday next month, has only survived for as long as she has due to the selfless care of her devoted parents, Shelley and Kevin, the court heard.

Although her hearing is normal, the gravest form of cerebral palsy has left her visually impaired, with almost no voluntary mobility or communication skills and suffering from epilepsy.

Through her mother, of Dalecote Avenue, Solihull, she sued the hospital's managers - the Birmingham and Black Country Strategic Health Authority - who agreed to a #1.5 million settlement of her case, without admitting liability.

Rachel's counsel, Jeremy Pendlebury, said the case had been compromised on the basis of 50 per cent of a full valuation of her claim, to take into account the inherent risks of litigation.

He told the court that, for the first 10 years of her life, Mr and Mrs Taylor coped alone in caring for Rachel and it was thanks to them that she had already outlived the life expectancy predicted at the time of her birth.

In 1997, the Janet Nash Trust - a charity set up by the sister of Rachel's Godmother to assist neurologically damaged children - had stepped in with financial assistance.

The Trust has funded Rachel's care at the Martha House care home, in Hereford, where she spends 26 weeks of the year, living the rest of the time with her family.

In 1998, Mr Taylor was off work for two years due to a serious road accident and the court heard the couple's relationship has since broken down.

They have two younger daughters, Charlotte and Sophie, and Mrs Taylor now has a new fiance, Stephen Potts, who also assists in caring for Rachel.

Her father also still plays a full part in looking after his stricken daughter.

Mr Pendlebury expressed his "admiration" for the care lavished on Rachel by her parents and said there had been "no sense of vindictiveness or revenge" in the couple's claim against the health authority.

Mr Brown told the court that, despite the admitted breach of duty, the health authority denied that had caused Rachel's brain damage.

There was, he said, evidence that the injuries may have been caused before Mrs Taylor was even admitted to the hospital.

The barrister added: "We pay tribute to Rachel's family for the devoted care she has received, particularly from her mother, over the past 19 years or so".

Approving the settlement, Mr Justice Ramsey said it was clear that Rachel needed constant care and assistance with all aspects of her life.

He said the Janet Nash Trust had "helped enormously" in funding Rachel's care but, although it was hoped that assistance would continue, the uncertainties of funding meant there could be no guarantee for the future.

Describing Mr and Mrs Taylors' care for their daughter as "exemplary in every way", he said their efforts had greatly improved Rachel's quality of life and extended her life expectancy.

The judge concluded: "Rachel has received remarkable care and attention from her parents, Shelley and Kevin, and I know that that will continue in their future relationships".