Case study: poor maternity care leads to cerebral palsy - £5.9 million 

Heather, nine 

JMW has helped a young girl secure £5.9 million compensation after negligent care from maternity staff resulted in cerebral palsy.

Heather* has severe physical disabilities due to the cerebral palsy she developed as a newborn baby. Heather was starved of oxygen at birth due to the negligence of maternity staff, causing permanent brain damage and leading to her cerebral palsy. 

Her family contacted JMW Solicitors for advice and one of our cerebral palsy specialists took on Heather's case. JMW secured an admission of negligence from the hospital trust and a compensation package worth £5.9 million cover the cost of Heather’s care. 

Heather can only walk short distances and struggles with her speech. However the compensation has allowed her family to move out of their terraced house into a bungalow which has been specially adapted to Heather’s needs. They have also been able to provide Heather with a full range of mobility equipment and, as Heather’s intellect was preserved, communication aids and the latest computer eye gaze technology.

Abnormalities during birth

Heather’s mother Tracy was admitted to hospital to have labour induced at about 12.45pm. She was taken to the labour ward and after an examination was given an epidural. A slowing of the baby’s heart rate was noted.At about 1.48pm a further examination was performed and Tracy was found to be 4cm dilated. Her membranes were artificially ruptured and it was noted that her waters were blood stained.

By 2pm Tracy was having four contractions in every 10 minutes. Shortly after there was another slowing of baby’s heart rate, which a senior registrar noted could be because of the epidural. Further abnormalities with the baby’s heart rate were noted over the next couple of hours and when Tracy was found to be fully dilated at 4.30pm she was told to start pushing. Two attempts were made, which were followed by slowing of the baby’s heart rate. It was decided that Tracy should be taken to theatre to attempt a vaginal delivery there.

Baby born in poor condition

On arrival CTG monitoring of the baby’s heart rate showed further abnormalities. An attempt was made to deliver the baby via the Ventouse method; however the cup fell off after two tries.At 5.30pm a decision was made to deliver the baby by C-section and Heather was born at 5.37pm. Heather needed to be resuscitated and was in a poor condition, suffering fits 30 minutes after her birth.

The claim

When JMW took on Heather’s case we investigated the care provided during labour and found several failings, including poor interpretation of the CTG trace, a failure to administer drugs to slow Tracy’s contractions and reverse the baby’s abnormal heart rate and failing to conduct adequate fetal blood sampling.

We also alleged that it was negligent that once a decision had been made to deliver the baby this was delayed and that ultimately that led to Heather’s brain damage. The hospital trust admitted negligence, which paved the way for the multi-million-pound compensation settlement to be negotiated. 

*Names have been changed to protect client confidentiality 

Have you also suffered poor maternity care?

If you have then contact JMW Solicitors to discuss whether you have a case to make a claim. Call us on 0800 054 6512 or fill in our contact form.

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