Father 'compelled' to comment to help others contest NHS statements around birth injury | Fieldfisher
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Case Study

Father 'compelled' to comment to help others contest NHS statements around birth injury

During his birth at the Royal United Hospital, Bath in 2017, Baby X suffered a catastrophic injury to his brain due to hypoxia (oxygen deprivation) that has caused dystonic cerebral palsy. He will never be able to live an independent life and will always depend on others for support with daily living. He faces ongoing challenges with mobility and speech and control of his limbs.

Following a clinical negligence claim brought on his behalf by his father, the hospital trust admitted that the care in labour provided to the baby's mother was not of an appropriate standard and that the resuscitation of the baby that took place after birth failed to meet the requisite duty of care.

It was admitted that Baby X should have been delivered earlier and had he have been, he would have avoided the brain injury suffered around the time of his birth.

The negligence occurred while his mother, who had a low-risk pregnancy, was in second stage labour in a bath in the Birthing Centre at the hospital. The midwife in charge failed to properly record CTG readings that would have showed that the baby was in considerable distress for a period prior to birth. The correct procedures around water births were also not followed.

When he was born unresponsive, attempts by two midwives followed by the neonatal emergency team to resuscitate him were then mismanaged, leading to brain injury. 

Following approval of the agreed settlement, his father said:

“Because of our legal backgrounds, my wife and I always had the confidence to pursue a legal claim against the hospital to get the answers we needed. My son’s identity is protected by the courts, but I am compelled to make a personal comment in the hope it might help other family’s going through similar difficulties understand that what they are told by the hospital might not in fact be the correct position.

‘Hospital staff involved in the initial hospital-led review of my son’s birth looked me in the eye and said that his birth had been a ‘gold-plated, triple A birth’ and that his serious brain injury was not of their doing and that they could not have done anything differently to prevent his injury.

'In fact, it transpired that a series of catastrophic errors by those whose specific job it was to protect him caused his injury. 

'Pursuing a negligence claim is not easy. It is many years of going over evidence, waiting, reliving difficult events and finally accepting a settlement that will make our son's life better but does not take away what he has lost. 

But what is clear is that had we taken the hospital’s initial report of events at face value, we would not have ended up with the settlement we have achieved which protects our son’s future and will pay for the very significant life-long medical care he requires. 

'I would urge all parents who find themselves in the same situation as my family to seek legal advice and reach their own informed conclusions on what happened to their child.'

Paul McNeil, a clinical negligence lawyer at Fieldfisher who represented the claimant, said:

"The delivery and the resuscitation of Baby X was negligently performed as is now belatedly admitted by the  Royal Untied Bath NHS Foudation Trust. It was only as a result of the strength and tenacity of his parents that  a legal investiagtion was intiated.  

'Given  the  Duty of Candour,  which requires medical  prfoessionals to  to be open and honest with patients, it is astonishing that this came to pass in 2017. I would urge parents who have concerns about the outcome  of  their baby's delivery or ressusitaion  to ensure that an independent investiagtion is comissioned  to consider all the circiunstances  and in particular whether negligent mistakes were made. " 

Contact us

For further information about cerebral palsy claims or birth injury claims please call Paul McNeil on 0330 460 6804 or email paul.mcneil@fieldfisher.com


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