Bryony Doyle, a specialist medical negligence solicitor at JMW, represented the family of ‘George’, who died shortly after his birth after a midwife failed to act on signs of distress on the heart rate monitor during labour. Although nothing could make up for the loss of their child, Bryony obtained a written apology from the hospital and £28,500 in compensation for George’s parents.

Failure to appropriately monitor labour

George’s mother Elaine developed gestational diabetes during her pregnancy with George. This was managed by her obstetric team who recommended that the baby be delivered at 37 weeks instead of allowing the pregnancy to go full-term. This was because gestational diabetes can cause the baby to grow to a large size making delivery more difficult.

When the 37 week period arrived Elaine was examined and as the baby was in the correct position an induction of labour was arranged rather than a C-section. A CTG monitor was attached to Elaine’s stomach to monitor George’s heart rate as induction was commenced.

It took a few hours for Elaine’s contractions to begin at 5am the following morning. For these first few hours the CTG trace showed a normal heart rate for George and Elaine was transferred to the labour ward.

Baby in severe distress

However 30 minutes later the CTG monitor showed the beginning of a significant drop in the George’s heart rate which lasted for 11 minutes; a sign of severe distress. Appallingly and contrary to hospital and NHS protocol for management of an obstetric emergency the midwife present did not take action. She should have called for a doctor urgently to ensure that George was delivered as soon as possible before injury could be caused.

HA short few minutes later Elaine’s waters broke and shortly after a problem was encountered with the CTG heart monitor which meant no reading was available. A further 30 minutes later Elaine was found to be fully dilated. Baby George was then born in a poor condition and not breathing.

The midwife called for help from doctors who resuscitated George and he was then transferred to a specialist intensive care unit at another hospital. George was having seizures and required cooling to try to limit his brain damage. He was given an MRI scan which revealed a grade 3 hypoxic brain injury and his parents were advised that he had suffered profound brain damage.

George was moved to palliative care and he later passed away in his mother’s arms.  

Successful medical negligence case

The family instructed JMW to pursue a case and Bryony Doyle claimed that the midwife acting for the hospital trust had failed to notice the signs of fetal distress during George’s birth. Had these been recognised, George would have been born sooner in a much better condition and would have survived. The trust admitted responsibility for George’s death and apologised for its failings. Bryony claimed damages on behalf of baby George’s estate and also for psychiatric injury suffered by George’s mum. The case was successfully concluded for £28,500.



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