Baby suffers catastrophic brain damage after failures cause oxygen deprivation - £10 million 

Shauna, eight 

Shauna will be permanently disabled for the rest of her life, will never be able to work or live independently and has a host of specialist care needs after her brain was damaged in the womb due to maternity failures. After her case was taken on by Melissa Gardner, a partner in the JMW medical negligence department she was awarded a compensation settlement amounting to £10 million.

Warning signs

The majority of Shauna’s mother Louise’s pregnancy progressed normally. At her antenatal appointment when she was almost 38 weeks pregnant she was advised to count how many times the baby moved each day and to seek advice if she felt less than 10.

For the next four days Louise noted 10 movements per day but on the fifth day she noticed that the baby was not as active. As she had also developed back pain she decided to attend hospital to be checked out. 

Poor monitoring

Louise was admitted to the delivery suite at the hospital at 9.40pm and at 9.51pm a CTG monitoring trace was set up to check on the baby’s heart rate. A midwife interpreting this correctly recognised that it showed signs that all was not well with the baby in the womb. She called for a doctor who arrived at 22.45pm and reviewed the CTG. However the doctor misinterpreted its findings and did not proceed to deliver Shauna immediately by C-section as she ought to have done.

The signs that Shauna was in distress were all the more concerning in her case as her mother was not in labour. As her mother was not experiencing contractions there was no reason for Shauna to be stressed other than she was not coping in the womb, her oxygen supply was compromised and she needed to be delivered urgently.  However the doctor continued to misinterpret the CTG, prolonging the amount of time Shauna suffered oxygen deprivation.

Successful medical negligence case

A decision was eventually made to deliver Shauna by C-section at 6.56am, many hours after Louise had first attended hospital with the first worrying signs. Shauna was in a very poor condition and she was later found to have suffered severe brain damage consistent with a period of oxygen deprivation that had gone on for some time. Louise and her family were put in touch with Melissa Gardner, a partner in JMW’s medical negligence team specialising in brain injury cases.

Although the hospital trust initially denied any wrongdoing Melissa successfully argued that the care provided had been substandard and obtained a £10 million compensation settlement to cover the cost of the specialist housing, 24-hour care and financial security Shauna requires.  

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