Kelly saw the Community Midwife who performed an abdominal examination and fetal heart monitoring. Her advice was to go home and drink iced water (to stimulate fetal movements) and to contact the Labour Ward if no movements were felt.
At home Kelly remained very concerned. As advised she drank iced water, ate chocolate and had a bath. Even so her fetal movements stopped. Kelly telephoned the Basildon Hospital and was properly advised to come in immediately.
On arrival on the Labour Ward the attending midwife noted that her fetal movements had stopped at 4pm. As soon as the fetal heart monitoring was commenced it was seem that the trace had a sinusoidal type pattern. This is highly suggestive of a feto maternal haemorrhage and is a medical emergency. Kelly should have been taken immediately to theatre for delivery of Luka.
In fact nothing happened until an Obstetric Registrar arrived some four hours later. Even then there were significant delays in delivering Luka given the seriousness of the situation.
In fact Luka was born at 2am on 3 April. At birth he was floppy and pale and was taken immediately to the resuscitaire and subsequently transferred to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit for treatment.
As a result of the feto maternal haemorrhage Luka lost a least one third of his circulating blood volume and not surprisingly suffered from severe anaemia at birth which necessitated introduction of fluids and blood transfusions. Sadly the treatment given was too late and Luka sustained a catastrophic injury to his brain causing amongst other things hemiplegic cerebral palsy.
Paul McNeil was asked to advise on whether a claim could be made on behalf of Luka and with the assistance of expert advice proceedings were issued in November 2014.
We were able to establish that the Community Midwife was negligent in the afternoon of 2 April in failing to urgently refer Kelly to the Labour Ward given the history of reduced fetal movements. Kelly would have gone straight to hospital and would have been on the Labour Ward four hours earlier. As a result Luka's condition would have been monitored and it is very likely that he would have been born within 90 minutes of arrival at the latest.
However, the Defendant's medical and legal teams did not accept this timing and moreover argued that all of Luka's injuries were caused before Kelly attended the Community Midwife.
Eventually the Defendant agreed to a settlement whereby it will pay 80% of the total value of the claim.
Luka's injuries are serious. He has a long life expectancy. The compensation is likely to be a very substantial multi-million pound sum for he requires help in all aspects of life.
After the case Luka's mum said:
"From the start of our son’s claim I felt this case was handled with the very highest professionalism, patience and care. Paul always made my husband and I feel like valued clients and if we ever had any questions, Paul was always at the end of the phone or email.
"We will be eternally grateful for the amount of knowledge, hard work and effort put into the case which has not only given us more insight into how to help our son’s future but also gives us peace of mind. This has been a very emotional experience for us all, but throughout the whole process Paul and the team of professionals always filled us with faith that we made the right decision with Fieldfisher representing us.
"Paul fought for our son every step of the way with his professionalism, honesty and compassion and we will forever give thanks and gratitude for helping him improve our son’s quality of life."
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