Our client Ellen, was due to give birth on 4 October 2007. Her pregnancy had progressed without concern when her contracts started on 1 October 2007. She was admitted to Calderdale Royal Infirmary where her waters broke at around 5.30pm the following day.
During the internal examination, the midwife felt what appeared to be a tight band of muscle around the uterus. The midwife request a second opinion from the Registrar but no abnormality was noted. As delivery progress was still minimal they decided to speed up the labour by using Syntocinon (an inducing agent).
Shortly after midnight on 3 October the Midwife was concerned with the foetal monitoring results and requested Registrar to review Ellen’s situation. The registrar carried out another examination at 1.00am the Registrar at which point it was first identified that Ellen had abnormal anatomy in the form of a septum in the vagina. The Registrar discussed delivery options with the Consultant on call, the Consultant advised not to use forceps but did not recommend that a Caesarean section should be performed.
At about 2.30am Ellen was fully dilated and told to start pushing. After over an hour to trying, she was taken to theatre where the delivery team tried to delivery her baby via the ventouse method (a vacuum device used to assist the delivery). When this was still not successful, a Caesarean Section took place at about 4.20am
The baby was born at 4.25am, at birth Ellen’s baby boy was pale and limp but he did make a small gasp. The delivery team attempted to resuscitate the baby but it ineffective and after thirty minutes he was pronounced dead. During the post mortem, it was reported that the cause of death was due to a subdural haemorrhage which was caused by a lack of oxygen around the time of delivery.
Margaret Ryan from our Clinical Negligence team in Leeds investigated the claim against Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Trust for the alleged substandard obstetric care. We alleged that the hospital staff delayed in recognising that Ellen never could have delivered her baby naturally because of her abnormal anatomy, this delayed the Caesarean section being performed which ultimately caused the baby to suffer from lack of oxygen and brain damage.
Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Trust admitted that the care Ellen had received had been negligent and that with appropriate care her baby’s death could have been avoided. Ellen and her husband were compensated for the psychiatric injury they sustained surrounding the death of their child, for their loss of earnings, funeral expenses and for the pain and suffering that their baby endured during the delivery.
Margaret Ryan of the Clinical Negligence team in Leeds represented Ellen helped her secure £50,000 in an out of court settlement. Margaret said “this is an extremely sad case involving the death of a new born baby shortly after his birth due to severe brain damage. What was truly upsetting for the family is that this devastating outcome would have been avoided had the hospital simply not delayed with carrying out a caesarean section. No amount of compensation will bring their baby back but the apology from the hospital goes some way towards giving them closure to this sad event”.
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