Skip to main content
Case Study

Dewsbury Hospital fail to perform caesarean section in High Risk Pregnancy and Labour

EMB was born on 27 September 2010 at the Dewsbury Hospital. The case concerned the management of Becky's labour and delivery and the severe injuries which EMB suffered.

We alleged on EMB's behalf that the care provided to her mother in labour was negligent and caused EMB's catastrophic brain injury.

Becky presented at the Accident and Emergency Department at Dewsbury Hospital late on 26 September 2010. She complained of severe back pain and did not realise that she was pregnant.

After an assessment and a pregnancy test Becky was transferred to the maternity unit at around 4.35am. She was having contractions and a fetal heart trace showed abnormalities. In addition thick meconium was seen draining. No action was taken at that stage to deliver EMB even though it was a "high risk" obstetric situation.

During the night EMB's heart rate continued to show abnormalities and little progress in cervical dilatation.

The key to the case was the non-action of the Obstetric Registrar at around 8am. By this time she accepted in a statement made for the Court that the trace "should have been categorised as a pathological (very abnormal) CTG". According to the national and local hospital guidelines a pathological trace necessitated urgent delivery of EMB. This was especially the case given that Becky was not close to full dilatation and that delivery was unlikely to occur any time soon.

The Claimant's paediatric experts had agreed that if EMB had been born by 10.17am she would have avoided her neurological injury. In fact EMB was born at 10.56am. The Defendant's neonatologist argued that her injuries occurred more than 24 hours later during an ECMO procedure at another hospital. This led to a very significant dispute between the lawyers.

Proceedings were issued in March 2015. The Defendant denied the obstetric team were negligent although its own investigation into the labour and the causes of EMB's disability confirmed that the fetal heart monitor had been misinterpreted from early on in the labour.

The case was due to be tried on 18 January 2017 but at a meeting between the parties we agreed a settlement on the basis that the Claimant would recover 85% of the damages to be calculated at a later date.

Becky had instructed local solicitors but the case was transferred to Paul McNeil in April 2015 because he specialises in obstetric cases.

After the case, Becky said as follows:

"A big thank you to Paul McNeil of Fieldfisher, along with his expert team he guided us through the medical legal maze and obtained a great outcome for us, which now guarantees a lifetime of care for EMB"

Contact us

For further information about birth injury claims and medical negligence claims, please call Paul McNeil on 020 7861 4019 or email


All enquiries are completely free of charge and we will investigate all funding options for you including no win, no fee.

Sign up to our email digest

Click to subscribe or manage your email preferences.