Baby’s delayed delivery causes cerebral palsy - £18 million

Annie, 13

‘Annie’ suffered severe brain damage at birth leading to a diagnosis of cerebral palsy, developmental delay and epilepsy. She is unable to speak or walk and will never be able to live independently or work for a living. After her family contacted JMW for advice Annie’s case was taken on by Eddie Jones. She was later awarded £18 million in compensation to cover the cost of the lifetime of care she requires.

Induction

Annie was her mother Claire’s first child and her pregnancy was uneventful with everything progressing normally. However when Claire’s due date came and went she was booked for an induction of labour at her local hospital.

Claire’s waters broke the day before the induction but as her contractions did not start she attended the hospital as planned. Pessaries were inserted just before midday and by 6pm she was having contractions.

By 11.15pm Claire was 5cm dilated and at 11.30pm she was taken to the delivery suite. At around 12.30am the baby’s heart rate was checked with a CTG trace and appeared normal.

Heart rate dropped

Less than three hours later there was a significant and prolonged drop in Annie’s heart rate. A midwife picked up on this concerning abnormality and called a senior midwife to check.

Despite further drops in Annie’s heart rate the midwives took no further action other than to place Claire on her left side. Following this Annie’s heart rate recovered but then dropped again sharply. The abnormalities in Annie’s heart rate were signs of severe distress and doctors should have been called urgently so steps could be taken to deliver her.

When doctors were eventually called, more than 20 minutes from the first severe abnormality on the heart monitor, there were further delays in delivering Annie. A senior doctor allowed a junior colleague to attempt to get her out using a ventouse cup. However he failed to successfully attach the cup to her head twice before the senior doctor took over and delivered Annie using forceps 13 minutes after they had arrived on the scene. This was an emergency situation and Annie should have been delivered immediately. If she had then she wouldn’t have been born in such a poor condition and would have avoided the permanent and severe brain that she suffered.

She was later diagnosed with severe cerebral palsy and has significant mobility problems and speech problems meaning she will require 24-hour care for the rest of her life.

Cerebral palsy compensation awarded

Annie’s family were put in touch with Eddie Jones, a specialist brain injury solicitor in the JMW medical negligence team, who conducted a thorough investigation into Annie’s birth and events leading up to her brain damage. Eddie found that if Annie had been delivered just minutes earlier she would have avoided the lifelong disabilities she now lives with.

Nothing could make up for tragic impact of the failures of the midwives and doctors responsible for Annie’s birth, however Eddie was successful in securing an £18 million compensation settlement for Annie to cover the cost of her care and to provide her with financial security.

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