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Case Study

Newborn dies after midwives fail to recognise illness after birth

We acted in an obstetrics negligence claim on behalf of Dean's mother. The case was settled for £200,000.

Dean was born on 1 December 1990 in a very good condition. Dean breast fed well initially and no abnormalities were recorded.

Unfortunately, Dean developed a serious infection shortly after birth, which resulted in a high temperature, high pitched screaming, photophobia and failure to feed. Dean's mother was herself incapacitated due to the effects of the Caesarean section and a long-standing symphis pubis dysfunction. 

The midwives failed to heed the mother’s reported concerns and ignored Dean'scontinuous screaming. Dean was not properly examined and not referred to a paediatrician.

On the fourth day, Dean suffered a cardiac and respiratory arrest. The crash team were delayed in attending and as a result, we alleged, that Dean suffered hypoxia. He was admitted to the neonatal intensive care unit and it was discovered that he had a bacterial blood infection.

Sadly, Dean remained neurologically abnormal following the resuscitation and tragically died on 28 December 1999. 

Richard Earle was instructed to pursue an obstetrics negligence claim against the hospital on behalf of Dean's estate. He asserted that Dean's injuries and subsequent death would have been avoided with proper treatment.

We also alleged that his mother’s PTSD (which included intrusive, distressing recollections of the event, bad dreams and flashbacks) were caused by the negligence of the hospital. 

The basis of the claim was that the midwives were negligent in failing to recognise his illness and to refer him for investigation and treatment. 

The hospital denied liability and we received statements from 18 witnesses in support of the defence.

However, we were able to trace a witness and obtain a statement from another mother on the ward who had heard and commented on Dean's unusual high pitched screaming. 

Experts reports were exchanged in the fields of midwifery, neonatology, microbiology and psychiatry. 

The case was listed for trial in September 2005 but settled after negotiation for £200,000 plus costs.

The case was initially funded under a Legal Expenses Policy and then a conditional fee agreement. 

Contact us

For further information about obstetrics negligence claims and clinical negligence claims, please call Paul McNeil on 020 7861 4019 or email


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

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