Baby suffers catastrophic brain damage after mother advised against C-section - £22 million

Hayley, 11

Hayley’s mother Jodie had a traumatic birth with her first child which resulted in her having an emergency C-section. For this reason when Jodie became pregnant with her second baby she was very keen to avoid a further traumatic delivery by opting for an elective C-section. However an appalling catalogue of errors meant she was pushed into having a normal delivery against her better judgement and without the risks of her uterus rupturing being explained to her. Tragically Jodie’s uterus did rupture and baby Hayley suffered severe brain damage due to her oxygen supply being cut off. The cerebral palsy specialists at

JMW obtained £22 million in compensation for Hayley to cover the cost of the 24-hour care she will receive for the rest of her life.

Traumatic first birth

The birth of Jodie’s first baby was very traumatic due to the baby being in the breech position, which was not discovered until the labour when she required an urgent C-section. Jodie was very keen to avoid another emergency situation and at her first midwife booking appointment with her second pregnancy she highlighted her wish for an elective C-section. The midwife advised Jodie that in light of what happened with her first baby she would be able to opt for a C-section and she would see a consultant as her pregnancy progressed who would arrange this for her.

Jodie and her partner left the midwife appointment feeling reassured and positive about the impending birth.

Doctor’s dissuasion

Jodie was put under the care of a consultant for her pregnancy and the birth. However on three separate appointments at the maternity unit she was seen by different doctors rather than the consultant and on each occasion the C-section that Jodie wanted was not booked. At one of these appointments, the doctor was very against Jodie having a C-section. He said that she would have extra scar tissue that would not heal as well as her previous scar, it would take much longer for her to recover this time, she would not bond with her baby as well and she may have problems breastfeeding. The advantages of Jodie having a C-section and the risks of a vaginal delivery were not discussed with her.

Jodie left this appointment very upset and confused and cried all the way home. She was so concerned she went to see her midwife to discuss what had happened at the appointment with the doctor. The midwife told Jodie to ask for a C-section to be booked at her next appointment with the consultant.

Mother railroaded

A few weeks later Jodie attended the maternity hospital for an appointment with a doctor when she believed she would be able to book a C-section. However again the doctor attempted to talk her out of having the procedure by telling her she would find it very difficult to walk up and down stairs and that when the baby was born it would not be able to breathe. He said he would not book Jodie in for a C-section that day, that she should think about things for longer and that it was better for Jodie and the baby if she had a vaginal delivery. Jodie was again very upset following this appointment and left it questioning whether she was a bad mother for wanting to have a C-section.

By the time Jodie had her last doctor’s appointment she was extremely frightened and confused. Again it was made clear to her that the doctor was not amenable to a C-section so Jodie agreed to a vaginal delivery even though she was not at all happy about it and went home in tears.

At no point was Jodie warned of the possibility that her previous C-section scar could rupture during a vaginal delivery.

Uterus ruptures

Jodie’s labour began when her waters broke and within half an hour she was having contractions. She phoned the hospital and she was told to come in. However because Jodie’s cervix was not dilating she was sent home. A few hours later Jodie was not coping with the pain and went back to hospital. She was given an epidural which was topped up twice due to how severe the pain was.

About five hours after this Jodie felt a ‘flick’ on her right side. Jodie told the midwife who was present as she thought the monitoring belt had come off her abdomen. The midwife moved the belt around and said she could not find the baby’s heartbeat. Jodie was rushed to theatre where it was discovered that her uterus was completely ruptured and Hayley was outside of it without an oxygen supply. Hayley was born by emergency C-section in a very poor condition and had to be resuscitated. She was diagnosed with severe cerebral palsy when she was six months old and is severely physically disabled and also has learning difficulties.

Successful medical negligence case

After Hayley’s case was taken on a partner specialising in cerebral palsy cases at JMW Solicitors the hospital trust admitted that guidelines had not been followed and that the risks of a vaginal delivery had not been explained to Jodie and that this led to Hayley suffering catastrophic brain damage. Although nothing could turn back the clock, JMW secured £22 million in compensation to cover the cost of the 24-hour care Hayley will require for the rest of her life.

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