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Case Study

Catastrophic delays at the Royal Blackburn Hospital result in cerebral palsy for baby

Baby X suffered prolonged partial asphyxia just prior to birth at Royal Blackburn Hospital, part of East Lancashire Hospital NHS Trust, causing hypoxia that resulted in cerebral palsy. The child has been left with microcephaly, impaired motor function, poor attention span, hyperactivity and significant learning and behavioural difficulties.

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.

Contact us

For further information about cerebral palsy claims and birth injury claims, please call Jenny Urwin on 0161 268 8595 or email jenny.urwin@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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