Seven figure settlement achieved for child with cerebral palsy.

Posted by Patricia Wakeford on

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Mrs A was expecting her second child. Her first child had been born three years before and she had had a difficult delivery and wanted to ensure that if she had any subsequent children the same would not arise. She had discussions with her consultant when she became pregnant three years later and it was agreed that she would have an experienced midwife to care for her throughout her labour.

Mrs A's pregnancy progressed well. However, as she got nearer to the end of her pregnancy she became more concerned about what happened with her previous delivery. She was again reassured that an experienced midwife would be available to look after her.

Mrs A was admitted for induction of labour at 41+ weeks. All was well when the induction process started in the morning and both Mrs A and her husband were very happy with the midwife who was caring for them. The induction process continued in the afternoon and no concerns were raised by Mrs A or her husband.

Later on in the afternoon Mrs A began to experience some low discomfort and contractions developed shortly thereafter. Unfortunately, the midwife she had built up a relationship with had to go off duty and an alternative midwife introduced herself to Mrs A and her husband. This midwife was also caring for another lady and it was anticipated that Mrs A would not go into labour quickly and was therefore told to let somebody know if anything else changed.

Mrs A began to feel her contractions developing fairly quickly. She became concerned and her husband left the room to try and find somebody to care for her. There was nobody around. Mrs A herself was becoming increasingly anxious as she had stronger urges to push and she remembered what had happened last time.

She eventually found a senior midwife who said that she would try and find somebody to come and look after her. At that point the condition of Mrs A's baby or Mrs A herself was not checked. There had been no recording of the baby's heart rate for over an hour.

Mrs A was then attended by a junior midwife who took her into a delivery room. It was clear that Mrs A was in strong labour and would deliver fairly soon. 10 minutes later the baby's heart rate was checked. This was felt to be quite low. However, the midwife felt that Mrs A's pulse was a similar rate and therefore did not request medical attendance. Mrs A was very anxious that only a very junior midwife was attending on her. A senior midwife was called in and the delivery process was slowed down to enable a gentle delivery of the head to try and prevent problems that developed with the last delivery. There appeared to be no concern that the baby's heart rate had been heard at a low rate and that delivery should be expedited.

When baby A was born it was immediately noticed that assistance was required. Baby A was transferred to the special care unit. Mr and Mrs A were told that their baby was very unwell and might not survive. They were both devastated as they had tried to get help when Mrs A felt that she wanted to push but no one had been available.

Mr and Mrs A instructed BL Claim Solicitors and Patricia Wakeford, who is a midwife by background, guided Mr and Mrs A through the legal process. Shortly before trial, offers were made between the parties and this case settled for a seven figure sum. This will enable Mr and Mrs A to provide for their child in the future and to provide therapies and adaptations to their property that they would not have been able to provide otherwise. Both parents would rather their child had not suffered any injury and wish that their concerns had been taken seriously.

Please feel free to contact Patricia if you have any concerns about care received during your labour or delivery and she will be happy to discuss this with you on 02380 857310 or patricia.wakeford@blclaims.co.uk..

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About the Author

Patricia is a Senior Associate, in our Clinical Negligence team, and is also a qualified midwife with many years of experience working in the NHS.

Patricia Wakeford
Email Patricia
023 8085 7310

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