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Maternity failures leave siblings brain damaged - £13 million
Natasha and Patrick
Paula was left devastated when maternity failures left her baby girl Natasha with serious brain damage and lifelong disabilities. However, her ordeal was not to end there, as two years later her son Patrick sustained catastrophic brain damage due to blunders at the same hospital. After their cases were taken on by a specialist brain injury solicitor at JMW, they were awarded combined compensation totalling over £13 million.
Paula became pregnant with Natasha in August 1990 and initially everything progressed normally. However, when Paula was almost 30 weeks pregnant she visited her GP as she was feeling generally unwell with a cough, cold and headache and she also mentioned to the doctor that she had not felt the baby move as much as previously.
The GP checked the baby’s heart rate and although she was told that everything was fine, Paula was advised to attend the antenatal unit at hospital so that the baby could be monitored more closely.
Paula was admitted to the hospital as a CTG trace revealed abnormalities with the baby’s heart rate. Paula was also found to have high blood pressure and a few days after her admission, doctors decided to deliver Natasha early by C-section,but there was a delay in doing so.
Natasha was born in a good condition but a short time later she was to suffer catastrophic brain damage.
Due to her prematurity and the problems at the end of Paula’s pregnancy Natasha was admitted to the neonatal ward. However, as well as failing to carry out a C-section sufficiently quickly in response to abnormal CTG traces, the hospital made further blunders after her birth. This included failing to intubate her properly, failing to monitor her blood gases adequately and failing to respond to excessive levels of carbon dioxide in her blood.
The combination of these errors meant that blood vessels in Natasha’s brain, which were already vulnerable due to her prematurity and the delay in her delivery, ruptured and caused a haemorrhage in her brain. Natasha was left with catastrophic cerebral palsy and will never be able to live independently or live a normal life.
She is significantly physically and mentally disabled and will be for the rest of her life, she is dependent on others for all of her needs and requires carers with her 24-hours a day, seven days a week. The hospital initially denied any wrong-doing but after Natasha was represented by
JMW, eventually accepted 70 per cent liability for her injuries and agreed to pay Natasha £7 million to cover the cost of her life-long specialist care.
When Paula became pregnant again two years later with Patrick the pregnancy was classed as high risk, because of what had happened to his sister. Despite this maternity staff at the same hospital did not monitor him adequately in his mother’s womb and did not recognise that his growth was restricted and there were signs that all was not well with his heart rate.
The failure to monitor Patrick properly given this was a high risk pregnancy meant that opportunities to deliver him by C-section before he suffered an injury were missed. An emergency C-section was eventually carried out and Patrick was born in a poor condition and with a very low birth weight.
Patrick also suffered cerebral palsy and has life-long disabilities that mean he will never be able to live independently either, he also requires 24-hour care, though is less disabled than his sister.
JMW fought a separate medical negligence claim on behalf of Patrick and secured a full admission of liability and obtained over £6 million in compensation to cover the cost of the specialist care he will require for the rest of his life.