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Couple’s Torment As Hospital Admits Delays In Birth Caused Child’s Death

Expert Medical Lawyers Secure Apology For Family After Trust Admits Failings


The mother of a baby born with brain damage causing cerebral palsy who died just days after his first birthday has spoken of her year of torment as the hospital responsible apologised and admitted that delays in his delivery led to his death.

Faye Lawrence, 26, and partner Luke Follows, 27, from Willenhall, West Midlands, were left ‘devastated and heartbroken’ when their son Cayden suffered injuries after delays in his birth at Walsall Manor Hospital in May 2009 and died just a year later after struggling to overcome development and breathing problems.

The delay in his delivery left Cayden with ‘hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy’, known as HIE, which is when the brain is starved of oxygen causing extensive brain damage, cerebral palsy and delays in his development including severe microcephaly – which means his head was smaller than it should be.

The pair, who have three young children, have spoken of their horror after medical evidence commissioned by the family’s specialist lawyers at Irwin Mitchell found that if Cayden had been born just half an hour earlier he would not have sustained brain damage and therefore would not have died because of his injuries.

Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust has now admitted that delays in his delivery ultimately led to his death and that the care afforded to Cayden fell below a reasonable standard.

An apology from the Trust said a detailed investigation had been conducted into the events surrounding Cayden’s birth in an attempt to prevent another family suffering similar torment and sought to assure the family that lessons have been learned from the Trust’s internal review.

Expert medical lawyers at Irwin Mitchell secured a five-figure settlement on behalf of the couple to help them with treatment for the psychological trauma and distress caused by their year of heartache, as well as to cover the costs of equipment Cayden needed while alive.

Emma Rush, a medical law expert at Irwin Mitchell representing the family, said: “This is a very sad case in which failings by the hospital led to an unnecessary year of suffering for poor Cayden and his parents, followed by his tragic death just days after his first birthday.

“Faye suffered a very traumatic birth as she was left waiting for an operating theatre despite knowing things weren’t right. To then be told of the serious injuries Cayden had suffered was very hard for her to take. The couple loved and cared for Cayden around the clock but this has taken its toll and caused them a great deal of stress.

“Patient safety should be the number one priority in the NHS. We welcome the fact that the Trust has apologised and sought to re-assure the family that improvements have been made to prevent further mistakes in future but it can never change the fact that, on this occasion, this couple and Cayden were let down and his parents will have to live with that for the rest of their lives.”

Cayden’s mother, Faye, said: “Cayden’s birth and the year that followed as we cared for him were very difficult and placed a massive strain on all the family. It was so hard knowing that something wasn’t right and having to wait around during his birth, then we were devastated when we found out about his injuries and even more heartbroken to lose him just one year later.

“I’m relieved that the NHS Trust has now apologised and admitted that they were at fault for Cayden’s condition. Nothing can ever bring him back, but hopefully the Trust has learnt lessons from their mistakes so that no one else has to suffer as we have.”

The problems began at 6pm on 9 May 2009 when there were signs of distress from the unborn baby such as irregularities with the heart beat. There was a half hour delay before Faye was first reviewed and then a series of further reviews in which several members of staff gave conflicting advice as to when labour should be induced.

Faye was eventually induced at 10pm – three and a half hours after the first review - but despite further deterioration in the heart beat and signs of distress, no further review took place until 11pm when it was decided that she needed an emergency caesarean.

However, the transfer to the operating theatre was delayed until 12.23am on 10 May 2009 because the equipment was being used for another patient. Despite the clear instructions for an emergency caesarean no appropriate steps were taken to arrange for alternative treatment such as calling in a second team so that another theatre could be opened or by contacting the consultant on call.

Cayden was eventually delivered by caesarean section at 12.29am on the 10 May 2009 but the umbilical cord was tightly wrapped three times around his neck and a lack of oxygen to the brain had caused severe damage leaving him with cerebral palsy and development problems.

Following birth he developed seizures, had to be fed by a tube and developed breathing problems. He needed round the clock and intensive care from his parents and the rest of the family.