During the mother's labour, which initially progressed normally, a sudden and dramatic change in the baby's heart rate became evident on the CTG trace, likely caused by compression of the umbilical cord following pushing.
The midwife did not correctly respond to that pathological trace and failed to immediately consult a senior obstetrician. Instead, by the time action was taken, the obstetrician was in theatre dealing with another delivery and the second on-call consultant was not properly advised of the emergency situation.
The delay that resulted from this decision meant that baby X was eventually delivered 1 hour 39 minutes after the deterioration in the CTG, in poor condition and requiring prolonged resuscitation. The baby was transferred to St Mary's Hospital for cooling in the hope this would reduce the impact of the brain injury.
In a difficult case, the defendant argued the injury would not have been avoided with earlier delivery and that the child's difficulties were congenital. Agreement was eventually reached on the basis that the claimant will receive 95% of the award. The level of damages due is currently being assessed. A substantial interim payment was recovered for the family to fund the child's immediate and ongoing needs.
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