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Admission of liability young girl with severe dyskinetic cerebral palsy
Boyes Turner’s cerebral palsy specialists have secured an admission of liability for a five year old girl with severe dyskinetic cerebral palsy. Our client’s injury was caused by an acute period of hypoxia (lack of oxygen) in the minutes leading up to her delivery, which was delayed by negligent midwifery care.
Our client was her mother’s first baby. The pregnancy was normal until shortly before term when fundal height measurements failed to increase with gestational age. This was an indicator of reduced fetal growth or oligohydramnios (lack of amniotic fluid) and should have prompted a referral for ultrasound scan and consultant obstetric review but neither took place. Her mother also attended hospital, post term, because she was concerned about reduced fetal movement following an episode of heavy vaginal bleeding. This combination of events made it mandatory to refer her to an obstetrician and arrange for an immediate induction of labour. Instead, after an examination, she was sent home. She returned for induction of labour as planned, three days later.
During labour, no account was taken of the lack of fetal growth or history of bleeding, which should have led the midwife to monitor the fetal heart-rate continuously by CTG. Instead, the midwife listened to the heart-rate by intermittent auscultation. In doing so she failed to recognise fetal heart–rate abnormalities, mistaking late decelerations and an elevated heart-rate (signs of fetal distress) for accelerations (one of the signs of fetal health). Essential items of equipment were missing from the delivery room and when the fetal heart-rate dropped to a persistent bradycardia, indicating the terminal decline as a fetus sustains brain-damaging hypoxia, the midwife failed to call for emergency obstetric help. She also failed to call for a paediatrician to be present at the imminent birth of a baby which had suffered oxygen deprivation and would be expected to need resuscitation. These errors all led to a delay in our client’s delivery and in proper resuscitation immediately after birth. Our client suffered permanent damage to her brain leaving her severely disabled. She will require life-long care.
Boyes Turner’s cerebral palsy specialists investigated our client’s treatment and the cause of her condition and put the claim to the defendant hospital. The defendant initially accepted that there had been poor midwifery care, but not that that substandard care had caused our client’s injury. The defendant later consented to judgment being entered in the claimant’s favour after proceedings were issued.
We will now obtain a substantial interim payment to meet our client’s urgent needs whilst we work with her family and our experts to assess the full value of her claim.
I have to say I was extremely impressed with the service in what was a very difficult time for myself and my family. The advice and support I had from the team was fantastic and invaluable. They put mine and my wife's mind at rest on many occasions and got a great result for us. Thank you from all of us.