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Case Study

Liability settlement agreed after mother unable to give informed consent for place of birth

Mark Bowman was instructed by the parents of Annabelle after she was born at Neath Port Talbot Hospital. Annabelle's mother alleged that during her pregnancy and before Annabelle's birth, she was not given competent advice about her choice of place of birth. With competent care she would have chosen Singleton Hospital, not Neath Port Talbot birthing centre, located at Neath Port Talbot Hospital.

Prior to her pregnancy, Annabelle's mother had wanted to give birth at Singleton Hospital since it is local to her and she knew it well. During her pregnancy, however, midwives advised her that she would be better off giving birth at Neath Port Talbot Hospital, a newer unit with better facilities. Based on this information, she changed her mind and agreed to the choice.

Unfortunately, while the pregnancy was straightforward, Annabelle's birth was not, and shortly after being born at the birthing centre, she was taken by ambulance to Singleton Hospital for cooling and other therapeutic treatment. In spite of appropriate neonatal care, Annabelle is left suffering with life changing injuries and has been diagnosed with cerebral palsy.

On meeting Annabelle's mother, it soon became clear that she had not been given all of the necessary information to make an informed decision about where to give birth. It was her evidence that she was not told there are no obstetricians, neonatologists or paediatricians at Neath Port Talbot, that there was no ability to monitor a baby's heart rate with a CTG, and that in an obstetric emergency an ambulance would have to be called, with a transfer time to Singleton Hospital of around an hour. Had she known all this she would never have agreed to give birth at Neath Port Talbot.

The Defendant midwives gave very different evidence and claimed that all necessary information was provided to the family. What was not contested was that had the birth taken place at Singleton Hospital, Annabelle would have avoided her injury. As a result, following a failed settlement meeting, the Defendant made a liability offer that the family accepted.

This was recently approved by the Court, meaning Annabelle's case will be valued over the next two years. A significant interim payment will also now be provided, enabling the family to purchase aids and equipment and consider a move to more suitable accommodation in order to assist Annabelle whilst the case continues.

Following the liability settlement, Annabelle's family said:

'We are absolutely thrilled to a have a positive result in this case. We are now so optimistic of a hugely improved future for Annabelle. Thank You so much to Mark Bowman and all the team at Fieldfisher for your hard work and dedication to helping our daughter.

'Your compassion and patience during this whole process has been most gratefully received.'

Contact us

For further information about birth injury claims, please call Mark Bowman on 0330 460 6794 or email mark.bowman@fieldfisher.com.

Alternatively

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

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