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Case Study

Settlement for mother of stillborn following negligence at Watford General

Christina Gardiner represented Nisha Nyunt in her medical negligence claim against West Hertfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust. The claim concerned the stillbirth of baby Xavier, the second son of Nisha and her husband Arthur.

At the beginning of her pregnancy, Nisha was referred for consultant-led care at Watford General Hospital. This was in light of the delivery of her first born son, Sebastien, by emergency c-section in 2014.

Nisha's pregnancy with Xavier was largely unremarkable until around 25 weeks' gestation, when Nisha started to experience reduced fetal movements. She attended hospital and was reassured by a normal fetal heart rate and subsequently at 27+6 weeks normal CTG monitoring.

Nisha also attended for growth ultrasound scans from around 32 weeks. A reduction in growth velocity was noted but no proper care plan was made in light of this and the prior reduced movements. Nisha should have been booked for an elective c-section at 36 weeks, to take place the following week i.e. by 37+3 weeks. Instead, Nisha carried Xavier to 38+4 weeks when he tragically died in-utero.

It was alleged that due to a failure to properly monitor Xavier's fetal growth, the Hospital failed to appreciate that Xavier was small for his gestational age. Had this been properly appreciated, Nisha should have been referred for early delivery of her baby.

Christina secured an admission of liability from the Trust. In its pre-action response, the Trust admitted the vast majority of allegations of negligence made against it. Importantly, the Trust accepted that an elective c-section should have occurred at 37 weeks, admitting that there was a failure to appreciate and respond to fetal measurements and SGA findings.

The Trust also admitted causation. It accepted that had an elective c-section been arranged at 36 weeks to take place the following week, baby Xavier would have been delivered by 37+3 weeks and would have survived.

As a result of the Trust's negligence, Nisha suffered psychiatric injury in the form of a severe adjustment disorder. Independent expert evidence was obtained from a consultant psychiatrist in support of Nisha's claim. Christina worked with barrister Jo Moore of One Crown Office Row to quantify the claim and advance an early settlement offer.

Negotiations followed and Nisha's claim eventually settled in the sum of £62,750. The settlement factored in general damages for Nisha's psychiatric injury, as well future costs for treatment and therapies.

Following settlement, Nisha and her husband, Arthur, said to the team at Fieldfisher "we can't thank you enough for persevering with our case, it is important to us to raise the issues surrounding stillbirth to others and more importantly for the Trust now to make changes so that this doesn’t happen to other families."

Contact us

For further information about stillbirth claims and birth injury claims, please call Christina Gardiner on 020 7861 4954 or email christina.gardiner@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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