Admission of liability for boy profoundly brain damaged at birth during 9 hours of negligent delay

Admission of liability for boy profoundly brain damaged at birth during 9 hours of negligent delay

Boyes Turner’s birth injury lawyers have secured an admission of liability for a young boy with cerebral palsy who suffered profound damage to his brain when his delivery was negligently delayed by more than nine hours.

The brain injury

Our client suffered grade 3 hypoxic ischaemic encephalopathy (HIE) when fetal heart rate (FHR) abnormalities detected by the CTG monitor on his mother’s admission to hospital in labour were allowed by the maternity staff to continue for over five hours. With pathological abnormalities on the CTG indicating that the fetus was suffering from distress, correct treatment should have been to deliver the baby by an emergency caesarean section to avoid permanent damage to the baby’s brain. Instead, the labour was allowed to continue despite the persistently abnormal CTG trace. After five and a half hours of abnormalities the FHR appeared to recover for the remaining five hours of the labour.

The baby was delivered, apparently in good condition, but then suffered a respiratory collapse after 30 minutes. An MRI scan later confirmed that the damage to his brain was consistent with a chronic (rather than acute) severe, hypoxic insult which our experts believed was caused (either wholly or materially) by chronic, partial asphyxia during the period of negligent delay.

The claim

We put the claim to the defendant hospital which admitted that our client’s delivery was negligently delayed. However, in order to succeed with a medical negligence claim, the claimant must prove not only that the treatment they received was negligent but also that the negligence caused the injury. Having admitted negligence, the defendant prevaricated over causation, but admitted liability when we issued High Court proceedings to force them to clarify and plead their case. As the precise extent of the defendant’s negligently caused ‘material contribution’ towards our client’s injury could not be determined, our client will be able to recover compensation for the full injury and its consequences from the defendant.

We will now enter judgment and secure a substantial interim payment to meet our client’s urgent needs whilst we work with his family and our experts to value the claim.

If you are caring for a child or young adult with cerebral palsy or another neurological injury which was caused by medical negligence, contact us by email at cerebralpalsy@boyesturner.com.

Knowledgeable, organised, responsive, diligent, empathetic and human. I deal with many legal firms during the course of my work and have found the Court of Protection team at Boyes Turner to be, 'Simply the best'.

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