Following the tragic stillbirth of baby F in March 2015, her mother K instructed Jonathan Zimmern to investigate a claim against Barts Health NHS Trust.
At 14-weeks pregnant, K attended Whipps Cross Hospital. Her blood pressure was found to be a worrying 128/90. NICE guidelines state that, in these circumstances, K should have been referred to a high risk obstetrics clinic. No such referral was made.
K was seen regularly in the antenatal clinic throughout her pregnancy. At each appointment, her blood pressure was found to be high but no action was taken to monitor or treat the problem. In January, a scan at 28 weeks gestation showed the baby's growth had slowed. A repeat scan was ordered for two weeks later.
In February, K was seen again in the antenatal clinic at 31 weeks. No plan was discussed to address her raised blood pressure. Another scan showed further problems with the baby's growth. She was reviewed again in early March, but, despite the ultrasound findings and her high blood pressure, no action was recommended.
A week later, K went to triage at Whipps Cross Hospital complaining of reduced fetal movement and vaginal spotting. Her blood pressure was 153/103. Tragically, an ultrasound scan confirmed that her daughter had died in utero. Because of her high blood pressure, K could not have a caesarean section and had to go through an induced labour and F was delivered stillborn that evening.
K complained to the hospital about the treatment she had received. The Trust produced a report that concluded there had been a failure to monitor her blood pressure levels throughout the pregnancy and that this could have contributed to the death of her daughter.
K instructed Jonathan Zimmern in October 2015. Jonathan wrote a letter of claim to the Trust highlighting the failures in K's care as concluded in their own report. The Trust admitted liability and a settlement was agreed in March 2016, just five months after Jonathan was instructed.
On completion of the case, K said:
"Jonathan was recommended to me by a friend of mine. When I met Jonathan I was so happy I had asked him for help. From day one he has not just been professional but also a lovely person to speak to. You need someone with heart to deal with such issues, especially when you are going through such a horrific time after losing your baby, and Jonathan was very sympathetic to our situation. He was always very nice to talk to and always kept us involved with what was happening with the case. There are no words to describe how grateful my husband and I are to Jonathan for his help".
"There are few things that can be more traumatic than losing a baby and this was such a needless death. Thankfully the hospital trust acknowledged that its staff had not followed the NICE guidelines and they spared the family the upset of a prolonged legal argument. Time and time again we are forced to fight claims that should have been resolved months or even years previously and I was pleased that the Trust on this occasion acted sensibly in relation to this tragic death."
By Jonathan Zimmern, Partner
Jonathan has been dealing with complex, high value medical negligence cases for over ten years, covering areas such as birth injury, delayed diagnosis, inquests and orthopaedic injury amongst other areas. He is a member of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers and is acting on behalf of the Trustees for the vCJD compensation scheme – which manages £67.5m for victims of variant Cruetzfeldt Jakob Disease and their families.
He often handles cases which are reported in regional and national press and regularly takes over cases that have been mishandled by other solicitors. He has particular expertise in dealing with complicated cases of clinical negligence which overlap with pre-existing personal injury claims.
If you would like to enquire about making a medical negligence claim you can contact Jonathan Zimmern direct on
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- E: email@example.com.
- You can speak to any member of our Medical Negligence team on freephone 0800 358 3848
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