Baby A was Ms W's second child, she had a daughter by Caesarean section the year before she fell pregnant with Baby A. Following a normal second pregnancy, Ms W was checked into Mayday hospital with regular contractions in early June. Concerns that labour was progressing slowly and an abnormal CTG resulted in Ms W having an emergency C-section. Baby A needed resuscitating at birth and regular breathing was delayed by one minute. After being examined by a midwife and a paediatrician at hospital, mother and baby were discharged home two days later, with notes stating he was feeding well and appeared healthy.
Over the next few weeks, Ms W raised concerns with midwives visiting her at home and in clinic that A was sometimes jittery and had a high-pitched but quiet cry. Despite nothing abnormal being documented, Ms W continued to be concerned about A's development. Eventually, at his eight-week check, the GP raised serious concerns about A's head circumference and development and referred him back to the consultant paediatrician at Mayday hospital.
A cranial ultrasound scan showed under development of areas of A's brain and he was referred for further neurosurgical assessment at Kings College Hospital, London and A was diagnosed with Obstructive Hydrocephalus. He was taken for emergency surgery and a ventriculoperitoneal shunt was inserted to relieve the blockage. Tragically, when he was eight-years-old, A died as a result of complications associated with the shunt in his brain.
Ms W instructed Iona to pursue a claim for damages arising from the considerable brain injuries suffered by Baby A from birth. It was her case that, on the balance of probabilities, there was a negligent failure by the hospital trust to investigate the cause of Adam's abnormal cry and his jittery and jerky movements after his birth on 4 June and prior to his discharge from hospital on 6 June. Such investigations should have included a review by a doctor prior to discharge.
Furthermore it was the Claimant's case that there were continued failures by the community midwives who visited baby A at his home on 7th and 8th June and there was an admitted failure by the Defendant's paediatrician on 19 June to refer Adam for further investigation in light of the change in his head circumference. Such investigation would have included a CT of MRI scan and then neuro surgical review. The Claimant's case was that the delay in diagnosing and treating Adam's hydrocephalus caused or materially contributed to his catastrophic brain injury and subsequent death.
Following several delays in response over 18 months, the defendant's position was to deny A exhibited an abnormal cry or jittery movements between his birth and discharge and that there was no indication to investigate. The defendant did concede a breach of duty in failing to refer A for further investigation on 19 June, but causation was denied. Their case was that A's catastrophic brain injury was unavoidable and caused by an intraventricular haemorrhage occurring prior to his birth and that his hydrocephaly, experienced after birth, had no additional material effect on his overall condition.
Iona then served Amended Particulars of Claim and expert evidence was exchanged in January 2020. At a Round Table meeting in March 2020, damages were duly agreed.
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