Mrs Connolly's pregnancy was uneventful. She presented to the hospital complaining of reduced fetal movements since the night before. She was admitted and a CTG was commenced, but the midwife had problems interpreting it. Mrs Connolly's care was passed to the nightshift midwife who had just come on duty. The midwife had also been allocated another patient. She raised concerns that she did not feel able to provide care to both women and asked that one of the women be reallocated. This did not happen however until later that evening.
The CTG trace remained concerning throughout that evening, suggesting that Jane was not getting sufficient oxygen. Despite this, no meaningful action was taken. A Consultant was not called to review Mrs Connolly or the CTG traces. Her labour was instead managed by a Specialist Registrar. When the CTG trace was eventually reported as abnormal, the Specialist Registrar advised delivery by caesarean section. Despite the urgency of the situation, Jane was not delivered for almost another two hours.
Jane was found to be floppy at birth, with her umbilical cord wrapped round her neck four times. She required resuscitation and was subsequently moved to the Neonatal Unit for further intensive treatment. Tests performed in the days after her birth confirmed that she had suffered cerebral palsy (HIE grade 2) as a result of the prolonged period of oxygen deprivation.
Mr and Mrs Connolly instructed Jonathan Zimmern to investigate the claim on Jane's behalf. The trust had performed their own investigations into the care provided during labour. Jonathan sought expert opinion from an obstetrician, a midwife, a neonatologist and a neuroradiologist. He wrote a Letter of Claim to the Trust inviting them to admit liability. He received a Response from the trust admitting that their care had materially contributed to Jane's injuries. He also secured a letter of apology and a large interim payment which will allow the family to put a care and therapy regime in place for Jane to manage her immediate needs.
Further investigations are now required to value Jane's claim.
On receiving the admission of liability, Mr and Mrs Connolly said:
"As parents, this process has been overwhelming, somewhat confusing and emotional at times. However, Jonathan has handled our daughter's claim brilliantly and his support on our case has taken the stress out of the process, which we truly appreciate. His ability to put legal and medical terms into plain English for us to fully understand the process we are now facing has been invaluable".
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Image credit: Medway Maritime Hospital cc-by-sa/2.0 - © David Anstiss - geograph.org.uk/p/3205764
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