In 2007, L’s parents instructed Paul McNeil who investigated the matter and found that the midwife failed to follow the hospital’s own guidelines, particularly in failing to run the CTG for sufficient time, organise an ultrasound scan and to refer the mother to an obstetrician before discharge.
A fetal heart test was performed at which time no fetal movement was felt. Not withstanding that the machine was flashing “criteria not met”, the midwife dismissed the lack of movement concerns and reassured L’s mother that she and her baby were normal. Two days later she made another visit to the unit where she was treated in a similar fashion and made to feel “over anxious”. No referral was made to an obstetrician. 15 days after registering her initial concern, L’s mother again attended hospital on her own volition with further concerns. Within two hours of arriving in hospital she underwent an emergency caesarean section. Sadly, her son was born on 17 April in poor condition and subsequently developed cerebral palsy.
Paul argued that all responsible obstetricians would have ensured that careful monitoring of the pregnancy would have taken place in the 2 weeks before delivery. Applying the Dawes Redman criteria (operated by the hospital) would have established concerns about fetal wellbeing and that delivery would have been ordered before 17 April. In those circumstances L would have been born without disability.
Proceedings were issued on behalf of L and were initially strongly defended both in respect of breach of duty of care and causation of injury. Nevertheless, liability was finally admitted and a £9.6 million pound settlement was approved by Mr Justice Sweeney on 18 June 2012. L is now 8 years old and suffers from moderately severe cerebral palsy which effects his walking and his cognitive abilities. He will require 24 hour care and attention and the compensation will help him achieve his potential.
After the claim, L’s father, praising Paul’s efforts, said:
"Thank you for the enormous amount of work that you have done to get us where we are today. This was a very humbling and emotional experience for both of us. Throughout the whole process from choosing 'the team' to instructing specialists your choices, advice and support have been exemplary."