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Settlement For Mother After Negligent Care Leads To Stillbirth

Our Medical Negligence team have helped secure a settlement for a mother whose second child was stillborn following negligent care received at a hospital in Kent.

Louise, 41, fell pregnant for the second time in 2014 and, until week 29, had a normal pregnancy with no concerns. However, on the evening of December 4th, Louise arrived at the Princess Royal University Hospital’s delivery suite complaining of sharp pains in her stomach. As the unit was full, she wasn’t immediately seen by triage staff, but was assessed by an agency midwife at 7.25pm.

When she was finally assessed by a doctor at 10pm, it was thought that the baby was lying sideways and Louise was at risk of going into premature labour. It was also thought that Louise had low lying placenta.

At 10.55pm Louise’s waters broke and the emergency buzzer was pulled. She was assessed again by a doctor who determined that the baby had indeed changed position and that, combined with the fact her waters had broken, but the child at risk of a cord accident or cord prolapse where the mother’s bloody supply is cut off from the baby.

Just before 11.30pm staff made the decision to perform an emergency caesarean section and pressed ahead with the operation, despite the fact that they couldn’t find the child’s heartbeat. The baby was delivered at 11.55pm and was pronounced dead 20 minutes later after staff tried to resuscitate the infant. During all this, Louise lost a staggering 1.6 litres of blood and, after her baby died, was transferred to the maternity ward where she was surrounded by other people’s newborn babies. She subsequently spent one night in the hospital’s bereavement suite with her child, before being discharged the following day.

As a result of this harrowing experience Louise suffers from ongoing post-traumatic stress disorder, psychological disassociation and, understandably, enduring grief.

She got in contact with our medical negligence team and her case was handled by Georgie Cushing, one of our solicitors. Georgie requested a copy of the hospital’s Serious Untoward Incident report, which stated that hospital staff were aware of the risk of the blood supply to Louise’s child, but failed to understand the seriousness of the situation and should have immediately escalated the matter to a senior colleague.

After Georgie wrote to King’s College Hospital NHS Trust inviting them to admit liability for Louise’s baby’s death. They accepted full liability and admitted that they had failed in their duty of care towards Louise and, had they not failed, Louise’s baby would probably have survived.

Following this admission, and without having to initiate court proceedings, Georgie negotiated a settlement of £47,000 for Louise to help go towards the private psychiatric treatment she needs to rebuild and move on with her life.

If you, or a loved one, has been affected by medical negligence, then please get in touch as we may be able to help you make a claim. You can call us on 0370 1500 100, or fill in our contact form and we will call you back.

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