Arti Shah successfully settled a case in April 2018 on behalf of the family of Sebastian Harrold, who was born with severe brain injury at Nottingham City Hospital in November 2015 and sadly died at just seven weeks' old.
Arti was instructed to investigate a claim into Sebastian's death following a delay in delivery. The hospital's own internal investigation concluded that it had provided "sub-optimal care" and, critically, that different management could have made a difference to the outcome. The Coroner opened an Inquest into Sebastian's death.
The Trust failed to respond to our invitation for early admission of liability to reduce the costs, so Arti obtained expert evidence from a midwife, obstetrician, neonatologist and paediatric neurologist to deal with breach of duty and causation. All four experts agreed that there had been shortcomings in care.
A crucial section of the CTG records, available for the purposes of the investigation, went missing at the time of disclosure. This was acknowledged by the Trust. Further, there were concerns regarding:
- The repeated administration of Syntocinon without consent, a drug used to speed up labour
- The failure to listen to Sebastian's mother's repeated requests for a Caesarean section
Arti represented the family at an Inquest in February 2017. The Coroner delivered a narrative verdict, commenting that Sebastian "should have been delivered earlier, and if he had been, it is likely that he would have avoided the final period of severe hypoxia…….In those circumstances, it is likely that he would have been born healthy". The Coroner also concluded that it was this brain injury that made him susceptible to infection that caused his death.
Despite this, no admission of liability was received for a further five months and the family has never received an apology. A low offer of settlement was made but in January 2018, Arti served a comprehensive schedule of loss and the case was finally settled in April for almost double the original offer.
In March 2017 NHS England published National Guidance on Learning from Deaths. It recognised that there was a "variation" in dealing with "unexpected" deaths, including how this is defined, when investigations are triggered, and how they are reviewed at internal meetings and further communicated to bereaved parents.
"Sadly, this seems to be the norm in my experience – I have been instructed in 3 similar cases following Sebastian's death, including a further case at Nottingham City Hospital. It is worrying that lessons are not being learned, and earlier admissions and apologies are not offered, which could make all the difference in alleviating parents' grief."
Photo © Oxymoron (cc-by-sa/2.0)
- You can speak to our medical negligence solicitors on freephone 0800 358 3848
- e-Mail them at email@example.com
- Complete the short enquiry form
All enquiries are completely free of charge and they will investigate all funding options for you including no win, no fee.
Contact us on freephone 0800 358 3848
Or start your claim online.
"The group is praised for its commitment to 'demystifying the legal process' while this is a firm for which the client has always been a priority"
Charities we support
Failure to react to fetal heart monitoring biggest contributor to brain damage in babies
A very concerning report published by NHS Resolution this month highlights that the inability of staff to respond to CTG monitoring during a mother's labour is the most common reason behind cases where babies are born brain damaged
Personal injury team celebrates social hub for amputees and their families
Fieldfisher hosted the first informal central London meeting hub organised for amputees and their families in association with the Limbless Association (LA)
Further criticism of sub-standard care at Basildon Hospital following death of new-born
At the inquest into the death of a baby boy at Basildon Hospital last year, the coroner concluded that serious failings by staff contributed to the baby's death at one day old.
Jane Weakley welcomes CYRIL technology to test new-borns at risk of cerebral palsy
Researchers at University College London (UCL) have developed a non-invasive monitoring system, small enough to take into neonatal intensive care units, which shines infrared light into new-born babies' brains to detect possible brain damage within a few hours of birth.
Simple scan to identify breech babies supported by partner Jane Weakley and senior midwife Charlene Francois
Proposals for coroners to investigate late-term stillbirths would provide relief to grieving families