Mrs A had had her first child in Sudan by emergency C-section due to the fact she had suffered Female Genital Mutilation (FGM).
In the index pregnancy Mrs A was under the care of West Middlesex Hospital. She spoke very little English but no interpreter was offered to her.
During her pregnancy Mrs A underwent surgery to reverse the FGM. Following the surgery she was noted to be keen to have a VBAC (Vaginal Birth after Caesarean Section) delivery. However Mrs A was unable to comprehend the risks and benefits explained to her and she was not told about the 25% risk of needing an emergency C-section with a VBAC delivery. She was also not advised about the risk of her previous C-section scar rupturing which had the potential to cause her baby to suffer from lack of oxygen and brain injury. It was alleged that Mrs A was unable to give her informed consent to the VBAC delivery.
During labour, Mrs A's urine was noted to be rose coloured, which, it was alleged should have alerted midwives to the possibility that the previous C-section scar was rupturing, however no action was taken.
Monitoring of the baby's heart rate started to show signs of fetal distress which was followed by a persistent bradycardia – an emergency which indicated the need for urgent delivery.
Despite this emergency situation and two Obstetric Consultants being present who could have delivered the baby, they waited for a more junior doctor to finish another delivery and there was a significant 40 minute delay in delivering Mrs A's baby. The baby was delivered in very poor condition and required intensive resuscitation. At delivery it was noted that the previous C-section scar had indeed ruptured.
Mrs A's daughter suffered very severe brain damage and was severely disabled. She required around the clock care, tube feeding and regular suctioning to clear her airways. Sadly, at three years of age she suffered breathing difficulties linked to her brain injury and passed away.
Following a Letter of Claim, the Trust admitted that Mrs A should have had an interpreter and that her daughter should have been delivered much earlier, however the Trust denied that earlier delivery would have made any difference.
Helen Thompson argued that the Trust's case was illogical. She was able to negotiate an early settlement in the sum of £185,000 for Mrs A.
Upon conclusion of the case Mrs A's family commented "Helen, you have been amazing…From the moment you took over the case, we knew we were lucky to have someone so professional, diligent and compassionate. After [X] died, we thought it was over but thanks to your commitment you have helped [Y] get some compensation for all she has suffered…You really are a wonderful person and an excellent lawyer. Thank you for all your support."
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