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Oscar suffered severe head trauma during his birth when a forceps delivery went badly wrong, causing him brain damage. As a result of this he now suffers with cerebral palsy, developmental delay and microcephaly. With significant learning difficulties, sight defects, poor speech and severe behavioural problems he will need one-to-one care and support for the rest of his life. Oscar’s case was taken on by Angharad Hughes, brain injury specialist in the clinical negligence team at JMW Solicitors and the hospital trust responsible made an admission of negligence and agreed to pay Oscar £21.86 million in compensation to cover the life-long 24-hour care that he requires.
Problems with baby’s heart rate
Oscar was his mother Karen’s second child ad her pregnancy was uneventful. When she started having contractions a few days before her due and once these became regular she attended the hospital maternity unit where she was booked.
An examination half an hour after Karen’s admission led to her waters breaking. Karen’s waters contained meconium, a baby’s first stools, which if present during labour is a warning sign that the baby is in distress. In light of this, a monitor was attached to Karen’s stomach to monitor Oscar’s heartrate. The monitor revealed significant abnormalities which meant Oscar was in danger.
A doctor decided to use forceps to deliver Oscar urgently and Karen was given a nerve block to provide pain relief. However the doctor began to attempt the forceps delivery before the nerve block had started to work causing Karen considerable pain.
When the forceps were applied they were not ‘locked’ on Oscar’s heads before the doctor made two attempts at pulling. The attempts were unsuccessful so the doctor sought advice from a consultant obstetrician. The consultant decided to take Karen to theatre, provide a general anaesthetic and decide whether to try himself with the forceps or to perform a caesarean section.
Appalling errors cause traumatic injury
The consultant took the decision to attempt the forceps delivery himself. Oscar’s head was not in the right position to enable the forceps to be applied so the doctor attempted to manually rotate it. This was done incorrectly, meaning Oscar’s head went back to its original position and when the forceps were again applied the doctor had to use considerable force to pull Oscar down the birth canal. The force used by the doctor caused severe trauma to Oscar’s head. He suffered a fractured skull, soft tissue damage, which included brain damage, and severe brain haemorrhages which caused further damage to his brain. Oscar was delivered in a poor condition and was later diagnosed with cerebral palsy, developmental delay and microcephaly.
Cerebral palsy compensation awarded
Oscar’s delivery was incredibly traumatic for both he and his mother and the care provided was appalling with a catalogue of errors made. Karen was put in touch with the cerebral palsy team at JMW and Oscar’s case was taken on by specialist brain injury solicitor Angharad Hughes. Nothing could ever make up for what happened and Oscar’s whole life being devastated. However Angharad was successful in obtaining an admission of negligence from the hospital trust and almost £22 million in compensation to cover the cost of the specialist care, accommodation, therapy and assistance that he will need for the rest of his life.