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Poor Maternity Care Leads to Cerebral Palsy - £5M
Huw, now 15
Huw is severely physically disabled due to the brain damage he sustained as a newborn because of serious errors that were made by midwives during his delivery. He has cerebral palsy, which has caused significant mobility issues, meaning he needs a wheelchair, and problems with his speech. Huw needs help with many aspects of daily living such as cleaning his teeth and using the toilet. He also has some learning difficulties although he attends mainstream school with help from a support worker.
Huw’s case was taken on by Eddie Jones, one of our expert cerebral palsy solicitors, who found appalling errors that were made during his delivery This included failing to carry out a vaginal examination, allowing the labour to progress for too long before intervention and failing to take appropriate action when there were signs that he was in distress.
Start of labour
Huw’s mother Alison went into labour her contractions occurred every two to four minutes. She attended hospital and at around 5pm a CTG trace was set up to monitor Huw’s heart rate. A vaginal examination was not performed until 5.25pm when the midwife told Alison she did not really know what she was looking for and wanted to get medical advice. The midwife seemed panicked and recorded in the notes that Alison was barely dilated but was feeling an urge to push. In reality Alison had probably become fully dilated some time before this examination.
An obstetrician was called who arrived at 6pm and after examining Alison confirmed that she was fully dilated. Some abnormalities with the baby’s heart rate, which can signify distress, were recorded and at 6.30pm a foetal scalp electrode was applied to the baby’s head. Alison continued to have the urge to push.
At 7pm an obstetrician was paged and by this time Alison was pushing. The obstetrician decided that Alison should push for 30 minutes and should be given a drug used to speed up contractions called Syntocinon. The midwives did as the doctor asked and by 7.50pm as there was still no sign of the baby they concluded that the pushing was not working and called the obstetrician once again. Some abnormalities with the baby’s heart rate again occurred.
At about 8pm it was recorded that Alison had been pushing for an hour, had been given Syntocinon for half an hour and Huw should either be delivered by the Ventouse method or a C-section. After two attempts Huw was delivered with the Ventouse. There had been continued abnormalities with his heart rate consistent with oxygen deprivation. He was born in a very poor condition with the cord wrapped around his neck. He was not breathing and needed to be resuscitated. He was later diagnosed with brain damage, however this could have been avoided if his mother’s labour had been managed properly and adequate steps had been taken to deliver him safely when there were signs that he was in distress.
After Eddie Jones of JMW challenged this poor care the trust agreed to pay Huw £5 million in compensation to cover the cost of the specialist care, equipment and aids that he will require for the rest of his life.