‘Prevent Future Heartache’ Mum Pleads

Family Relieved After Winning Battle For Justice

10.02.2011

The family of a young girl who was born with Erb’s palsy after she became stuck with the umbilical cord wrapped round her neck during birth have today spoken of their relief after winning their battle for justice in the High Court.

Their lawyer, medical law expert Auriana Griffiths from Irwin Mitchell said that despite concerns raised throughout the pregnancy that baby Jessica, now six, would be difficult to deliver because of her size, staff at Kings College Hospital, London, progressed with a normal delivery.

But as labour progressed mum Christine, 43, began experiencing immense pain and pleaded with staff to carry out a caesarean section. A plea they ignored, mistakenly believing that 11.4lb Jessica was average size.

Auriana said: “The second stage of labour went on for an abnormally long time, particularly for a woman that had already delivered two children. Alarm bells amongst the obstetric staff should have started ringing and yet they failed to appreciate that there was a mechanical obstruction, caused by Jessica’s size, and that this would result in difficulties delivering her normally.”

After her shoulder became stuck the labour suffered further complications and Jessica, born on 1 August, 2004, was born in a poor condition and taken immediately to special care baby unit. She has since been diagnosed with Erb’s palsy* and will require care and assistance, specialist equipment and therapies for the rest of her life.

Auriana said: “In 2009 the Trust admitted that Jessica’s injuries should have been prevented. We then went on to investigate her needs and agree a sum that would provide for her needs.“

Today, her family said they were extremely relieved after £400,000 was awarded by the High Court that they say will allow Jessica to live as normal a life as possible despite her injuries.

Auriana continued: “This has been an extremely difficult time for Mr and Mrs Taylor who have fought tirelessly to secure justice for their daughter.

“Had a caesarean section been undertaken at the appropriate time, Jessica would have been delivered safely and the nerve in Jessica’s arm would not have been damaged.

“Jessica will need care, rehabilitation and specialist equipment and will always need assistance with day to day tasks, such as getting dressed. She will also be limited in terms of the employment she will be able to undertake in the future because of severely limited movement in her arm.  But the money she will now receive means she be able to live as normal a life as possible despite her tragic, wholly avoidable injuries.

“Patient safety must be the number one priority for all medical staff and it is imperative that lessons are learnt and shared throughout the NHS to prevent these tragic mistakes from happening again.”

Christine Taylor from Brixton, South London said: “This has been a terrible time for our family but today we are extremely relieved to have secured justice for our little girl.

“I only hope that by talking out today, lessons are learnt and shared with all obstetric staff and other families are spared the heartache we have suffered.”

If your child suffered Erb’s Palsy due to negligence at birth, our lawyers could help you claim compensation . Call 0808 163 4557 for a free consultation or visit our Erb's Palsy Claims page for more details.