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Case Study

Baby conceived through IVF is left permanently disabled as a result of the negligent treatment provided by Nottingham University Hospital NHS Trust before, and at the time of birth

Fieldfisher partner, Claire Horton, has previously secured a settlement confirming that the Nottingham Trust will be responsible for paying 89% of the full damages for the injuries caused by their negligence, on the basis that otherwise the child would have been uninjured.

Claire is currently carrying out the work necessary to take the case to trial later this year, if earlier settlement cannot be achieved between the parties involved, for an assessment by the court of the compensation required to meet the child's needs for the rest of their life.

The Claimant's mother and father had been  delighted to find out that after six years on a waiting list for IVF they managed to conceive on the first round. The pregnancy continued as normal, until the Claimant's mother developed gestational diabetes. She was prescribed metformin and as a result of this was subject to increased monitoring through repeat ultrasound scans. Towards the end of the pregnancy, doctors felt the diabetes were beginning to have an effect on the baby which was not growing sufficiently. As a result, the mother was advised that she should undergo an induction of labour at 38 weeks.

On arrival for the induction, the mother was given a scan and reassured that the baby was in a good position. She was monitored for a short period of time before being moved to the ward to wait until labour was established. She was told she would be moved back to the delivery unit once labour had begun.

Once on the ward, the Claimants mother went for a walk as recommended by her midwife. On her return, she began to experience some pain and raised this with a midwife present on the ward. The midwife did not perform an examination but said that the pains were just some tightening and that she would get her some paracetamol.

An hour later, the Claimant's mother still had not received any pain relief and so pressed the call button to chase up the paracetamol, which was later given to her by a healthcare assistant. She was left on her own. The pains became worse but as no one had come to check on her,  she pressed the call button to request an examination and more pain relief. A healthcare assistant provided some codeine and told the Claimant's mother that she would inform the midwife of her pain. From that point on, the pains gradually became more severe. She experienced extreme discomfort, but believed this to just be contractions and that the midwives would be along to check her at the right point.  Nearly five hours after first reporting pain, the claimant's mother was finally seen by a midwife.

Straight away, the midwife noticed that there was a problem. She told the mother's sister who was present at the time, to push the emergency buzzer. Within minutes, a number of medical staff arrived into the ward and cord prolapse was noted. The Claimant's mother had to be transferred for urgent delivery by forceps. During the transfer, insufficient care was taken to prevent the baby's head from pressing down on the prolapsed cord and this prevented the baby from receiving oxygen from the placenta.

The baby was born in very poor condition, required resuscitation. and was transferred to the neonatal unit. The mother taken to a side room and was unable to see her baby. A doctor later came in to inform the Claimant's mother that the baby was not breathing when born and had been without oxygen for what they believe was 20 minutes before being delivered. The baby was put on a ventilator, and the family were informed not to expect the baby to live very long.

They were encouraged to take the baby home to spend time together. The family didn’t want to do this, but wanted the baby to be treated in hospital and to be given every chance of survival. An MRI a few days after their birth showed that, the baby was severely brain damaged. The doctors made a decision to gradually withdraw ventilation and said that they would not re-ventilate the baby if they couldn’t breathe on their own. Eight days after the baby was born, the ventilator was withdrawn, but the baby was able to breath independently, with only support required for apnoea which required monitoring.

The baby was moved to a low dependency ward at about one month. The family were shown how to use different pieces of equipment such as suctioning, and were left to get on with things for most of the time on their own.  It was still thought not likely that the baby would survive and the family were therefore  constantly encouraged to go home with the baby. They felt that they were put under a lot of pressure to do this despite voicing the fact they wanted their baby to be given all care possible.

Eventually the baby's condition stabilised and the family agreed they should take him home, although they continued to struggle without much support. They were informed that some referrals may not happen as the baby was on a palliative care pathway. The family recognised the prognosis was poor, but they wanted to give their baby the best help they could. These concerns were raised with a doctor, who agreed that the baby should be electively admitted back to hospital after a few more months of care at home.

Once readmitted to hospital in the paediatric intensive care unit, surgical treatment to assist with breathing and feeding was carried out and  the family feel that the baby's condition was then far better managed, and that they then received good support.

As a result of the negligence the child  suffers from a number of lifelong disabilities, including significant developmental delay, cortical visual impairment, difficulty in swallowing and reflux, a dislocated hip, and hearing impairments. The child has been diagnosed cerebral palsy with significant motor and communication difficulties, and cannot walk or talk.  Due to these injuries, the child is entirely dependent on others and will never be able to live independently.

Valuation of the claim will include making sure that all necessary accommodation, care, therapy and equipment needs will be met throughout the child's life into adulthood.

Contact us

For further information about cerebral palsy claims and medical negligence claims, please call Claire Horton on 0161 268 0069 or email Claire.Horton@fieldfisher.com.

Alternatively

All enquiries are completely free of charge and we will investigate all funding options for you including no win no fee. Find out more about no win no fee claims.

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