Child permanently disabled by excessive force during delivery - £5.85 million 

‘Hannah’, now 10

Hannah suffered a severe spinal injury during her birth after a locum doctor used excessive force when delivering her. As a result, Hannah will have lifelong and significant disabilities. After her case was taken on by the JMW clinical negligence team,, Hannah was awarded £5.85 million in compensation. 

Induction of labour

At around 40 weeks of pregnancy, Hannah’s mother Alex’s waters broke over the course of two days, however her labour did not start. Alex attended hospital and was monitored with a view to inducing her due to the risk of infection to baby Hannah. During the evening, meconium was noted on Alex’s pad. Meconium is a baby’s first stool and when it is present during labour it can be a sign that the baby is distressed. Preparations were made to begin the induction as soon as possible. 

When the induction was started in the early hours of the following morning, the baby’s heart was monitored with a piece of equipment called a CTG trace. Over the next few hours the monitor at times showed some abnormalities with Hannah’s heart rate. 
 

 


 

Traumatic birth

Alex’s labour progressed slowly even though the induction drip had at times been increased and she was contracting quickly. 

In the late afternoon of the following day, Hannah had still been born. When her heart rate was found to be worryingly low, an emergency call was made for a doctor to attend. 

When the doctor arrived and examined Alex, he found she was fully dilated and decided to deliver Hannah using a ventouse cup. However the doctor placed this on Hannah’s forehead rather than the crown of her head as he ought to have done. The doctor then proceeded to pull Hannah by her forehead, using considerable and excessive force, and stretching her neck causing permanent damage to her spinal cord. The doctor made two attempts with the ventouse but neither were successful in delivering Hannah. 

An episiotomy was performed and the doctor then managed to deliver Hannah using forceps. She spent two days in neonatal intensive care, where she was treated with antibiotics and phototherapy for jaundice.

As Hannah developed over the next few months she was found to have significant weakness in both her hands and also some weakness in her lower limbs. As she grew into her preschool years it was also found that she did not have any control of her bladder and bowels.  
 


 


 

Eddie Jones, head of medical negligence at JMW, who settled Hannah’s claim, commented: :

The doctor in this case was acting in an emergency situation to save Hannah’s life. However, he was not competent in using the correct techniques to deliver a baby in an obstetric emergency. This is extremely concerning due to the lifelong and avoidable impact on Hannah and potentially other babies. Nothing can turn back the clock but I am pleased that we have secured the means for Hannah to have an improved quality of life.

Successful NHS compensation claim

Alex and Hannah’s father had significant concerns about the traumatic circumstances of her birth and the actions of the doctor. They instructed the clinical negligence team at JMW to investigate this and the long-term impact of Hannah’s disabilities. 

A case was brought against the hospital responsible for the doctor and a compensation settlement of £5.85 million was negotiated for help Hannah now and in the future to cope with her severe disabilities, The money will help Hannah to have the equipment and care she needs and also provide her with some financial security given her ability to work for a living has been affected. 
 

Get in touch

JMW Solicitors LLP is a leading Manchester law firm and offers a broad range of legal services to both commercial and private clients.JMW’s Clinical Negligence team is headed up by leading lawyer, Eddie Jones.

For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact Kelly Hindle on 0161 828 1868 or Kelly.hindle@jmw.co.uk.

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