NHS trust admits liability for boy's cerebral palsy from uterine hyperstimulation at time of birth

Boyes Turner’s cerebral palsy lawyers have secured an admission of liability from an NHS Trust for a teenage boy with cerebral palsy. The boy’s brain was damaged by lack of oxygen during childbirth when maternity staff gave his mother too much of the uterine stimulant, Syntocinon, causing hyperstimulation of his mother’s uterus.  His family approached us when he was in his teens and asked us to help him make a medical negligence compensation claim.

The NHS admission of liability enabled us to obtain an interim payment to meet our client’s urgent needs,  whilst we worked with our experts to understand his long-term needs and negotiate a settlement of his claim.

Negligent maternity care led to hyperstimulation in labour

Late in pregnancy our client’s mother was admitted to hospital after her waters had broken the previous day. Her blood pressure, temperature, pulse and urine were checked, and a CTG of the unborn baby’s heart rate indicated that the fetal heart rate was normal. She stayed in hospital overnight. The next morning she was given a prostin pessary to augment (encourage and speed up) labour.

That evening, further fetal heart monitoring took place and she was given an epidural for pain relief. A Syntocinon  (oxytocin) drip was set up to stimulate uterine contractions. Syntocinon is a powerful uterine stimulant. It must always be given with care as too much can lead to serious, life-threatening complications for the mother and baby, including uterine rupture or  fetal ‘distress’ and brain injury. Syntocinon is given by drip in very small doses, which may be gradually increased or quickly reduced or turned off depending on its effect on the mother and baby. Whilst Syntocinon is being given, the baby’s heart rate and the mother’s condition must be carefully monitored. In this case, the dose was repeatedly increased over 2.5 hours, even after the labour had reached the second stage and maternal pushing had begun.

Baby born in poor condition from lack of oxygen

Our client was born in very poor condition. His APGAR scores were low. He was suffering from oxygen deprivation and needed resuscitation. He was transferred to the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) for ventilation. He suffered seizures (fits) and multi-organ failure. An MRI brain scan later revealed that he had suffered an acute, profound asphyxia (short but severe period of lack of oxygen) around the time of birth.

He now has four-limb dystonic cerebral palsy with impaired intellect and language and communication. His disability affects his education and means that he is dependent on others in many aspects of daily life.

If you are caring for a child or young adult with cerebral palsy caused by medical negligence and would like to find out more about making a claim, you can talk to one of our friendly lawyers confidentially by contacting us here.

I try to assist lawyers by explaining, in clear and comprehensible terms, what the relevant issues are and where the strengths and weaknesses of the case lie.

DR PETER DEAR

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