K fell pregnant with twins in early 2010. The pregnancy was relatively straight forward with an estimated due date of 14 January 2011.
At 36 weeks K's waters unexpectantly broke at home and as a result she went into hospital early on 14 December 2010.
The claimant and the twins were monitored initially by ultrasound and later by a fetal heart monitor. It was thought that one of the twins might be in breach position and the possibility of a caesarean section was raised.
The claimant was eventually taken to theatre at around 7pm with no vaginal examination being performed on the ward or in theatre before the caesarean operation was begun. The previous vaginal examination had been performed 3 hours earlier.
Lindsey was born in very poor condition – she was not breathing and was immediately taken for resuscitation. In the meantime Jonathan was delivered well and healthy.
The birth of Lindsey had been very traumatic. She had suffered a serious head injury and it was evident that there were 5 distinctive finger marks on Lindsey's head where the midwife had been pushing from below to move the fetus up the birth canal. Unfortunately Lindsay's skull had been broken as a result of the excessive pushing by the midwife. This resulted in a massive and catastrophic brain haemorrhage.
The injuries to Lindsey were so extensive that the parents were informed that she was unlikely to survive. Sadly, on 19 December 2010 treatment was withdrawn and after a few hours Lindsay died peacefully.
Paul McNeil wrote a letter of claim on behalf of the family on 15 July 2013 and by a response 6 months later the Trust admitted liability and accepted that there had been failings. In particular:
"It is accepted that there was a negligent omission of "on table" vaginal examination. It is admitted that had an "on table" vaginal examination been carried out this may have offered the opportunity of proceeding with a vaginal delivery and/or enabled the doctors to anticipate and plan for a difficult delivery of twin 1 at LSCS. Failure to perform an "on table" vaginal examination resulted in a very complicated delivery during which twin1 suffered significant trauma to the head which caused her subsequent death"
Also as a result of the Letter of Claim the trust apologised to the parents for the first time for the mistakes made during the delivery. This apology made a substantial difference to the family and was an important step in the recovery process.
Negotiations between the parties took place and even though the defendants did not accept the full extent of the psychiatric and physical injuries to the mother in May 2014 the matter was settled in the sum of £55,000 plus costs.
Today, a happier family
After the case the mother said:
"Our family is so grateful to Paul and his team for pursuing this claim against the hospital on our behalf. We were hesitant to do so at first because we were worried that it would bring up many difficult emotions and memories. Of course it did, but Paul handled everything very professionally and sensitively.
"I am so glad we pursued the case because the hospital's acceptance of liability drew a line in the sand for us. Even though I could not keep Lindsey from harm during the delivery, I was able to make sure that the hospital took full responsibility for the mistakes they made and that provided me with a sense of closure. I feel that I have done as much as I could for her and her twin brother who will undoubtedly ask many questions some day. Paul's sensitive, kind and straightforward approach helped us get the best outcome in a difficult situation."
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