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Case Study

Hull and East Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust agrees more than £20m for injured child following delayed resuscitation at birth

Claire Horton has won settlement on behalf of child left with life-changing injuries following negligence at their birth more than 10 years ago at Castle Hill Hospital, Cottingham.

The case revolved around the Trust's failure to have a paediatric advanced nurse practitioner or paediatrician present immediately following the claimant's birth, which resulted in an avoidable delay in achieving effective resuscitation, which led to the injuries.

The mother's pregnancy proceeded as normal until the baby was found to be presenting breech two months before due date. The course of action decided was to wait and watch in hopes that the baby would turn naturally. The claimant's mother was seen regularly for the following four weeks, but presentation remained breech. An attempt at external cephalic version was made, (to turn the baby from outside the womb), but this was unsuccessful.

The mother went into labour and was admitted to the labour ward at 17.45. The presentation remained breech. The CTG trace was reassuring until 20:55 when a series of decelerations occurred. The CTG trace from this point on was pathological, and remained this way until the claimant was born.

The claimant's body and legs were delivered between 21:40 and 21:44, but there was a significant delay in their head being delivered. When the baby was delivered 21:51, they were in poor condition. The baby's heart rate was recorded at below 100bpm at birth. Contrary to the terms of the defendant's relevant protocol, no experienced anaesthetist, paediatrician or paediatric advanced nurse practitioner was present at the birth. There was a significant delay in resuscitating the baby and a heart rate above 100bpm was not achieved until six minutes after birth.

As a result of the delay, the claimant now suffers from cerebral palsy, bulbar palsy, global development delay, learning disabilities and behavioural difficulties. The claimant can walk but with difficult gait and uses a wheelchair for distances. They are gastrostomy fed. The claimant's ability to communicate is limited, but they can use some Makaton signs. The claimant's behaviour is also often difficult to manage.

The defendant admitted breach of duty and causation of injury in response to a letter of claim. They accepted that in line with protocol, a paediatrician or paediatric advanced nurse practitioner should have been present at the birth and that, if they had been present, the claimant would not have suffered the injuries caused by the delay in resuscitation.

The case settled for more than £20 million, paid partly as a lump sum, which will cover all the claimant's needs in terms of accommodation, equipment and therapy. In addition, defined index linked payments for future care and case management will be paid every year for the rest of the claimant's life.

Contact us

For further information about cerebral palsy claims, please call Claire Horton on 0161 268 0069 or email Claire.Horton@fieldfisher.com.

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