Baby boy suffers catastrophic brain damage during induction of labour- £13 million

Alex, now teenager

As a result of brain damage at birth, Alex has cerebral palsy affecting all four limbs which significantly affects his mobility and fine motor control. Alex’s birth was very traumatic and his family feared the brain damage had been caused by a poor standard of care from doctors and midwives. They were put in touch with the cerebral palsy solicitors at JMW who took on his case. Steven Brown, a partner in our specialist team, was successful in obtaining a lifetime care package worth £13 million for Alex.

Induction of labour  

Alex was his mother Claire’s first child and as her due date approached she was booked for an induction of labour so that an appointment was available should she go overdue. As Claire’s due date came and went, with no signs that Alex was on his way, she attended the hospital for the induction to be started. A midwife inserted two pessaries into Claire’s cervix and she was then sent home with instructions to return the following day.

The next morning Claire’s waters broke and she returned to hospital as planned and was found to be 1-2cm dilated. Claire’s labour had started and was progressing but that afternoon she was attached to a drip to speed things up.

A few hours later, Claire was still only 1-2cm dilated. She was in a lot of pain and was given Pethidine. Not long after this a midwife noticed the baby’s heart rate appeared abnormal on the monitor. She decided to continue to monitor it and call for a doctor if the abnormalities persisted. As Alex’s heart rate continued to cause concern, a doctor was called who noted the abnormalities but did nothing about them.

The abnormalities with Alex’s heart rate continued for the next few hours, which should have raised concerns with doctors that he was in danger and that his oxygen supply could be compromised. However, no action was taken and the drip used to speed up Claire’s contractions was not turned off.   

Emergency caesarean

In the early hours of the next morning, due to the presence of further abnormalities with Alex’s heart rate, the drip was turned off. Doctors were called who took a blood sample from Alex, which revealed that he was suffering from the consequences of oxygen deprivation. It was decided that an emergency caesarean section was required immediately.

About 20 minutes later Alex was delivered in a poor condition and had to be resuscitated. He was transferred to the neonatal intensive care unit and his family were later given the devastating news that he had suffered permanent and severe brain damage.

Cerebral palsy compensation awarded

In investigating the care provided to Alex and Claire, the solicitors at JMW obtained evidence that it was unacceptable for the drip not to be turned down when there were signs on the heart rate monitor that he was in distress. The team at JMW obtained evidence that this, coupled with a failure to carry out an earlier caesarean section, had caused completely avoidable and catastrophic injury to his brain. The hospital did not accept responsibility for his injuries but a compromise was reached between the parties.

After obtaining further evidence in respect of Alex’s needs, Steven Brown, a partner at JMW specialising in brain injuries, was able to negotiate a compensation settlement worth an estimated £13 million to help to provide the lifetime of specialist care, accommodation and equipment he will require.

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