Obstetrics

Negligent care causes baby's death

We have recovered the sum of £48,000 for a couple who lost their baby when he was 4 days old as a result of negligent care at the time of his birth. The compensation reflected their psychological injury and loss of earnings.

Wrongful Birth – Inadequate screening during the ante-natal period

Our Clients claim was for wrongful birth of her 2nd child. She received the sum of £70,000.

The Client gave birth to her 1st child on 11.05.95. He was born prematurely and suffered developmental delay. No precise diagnosis of his condition had been formulated. Our Client became pregnant again in March 1998. She attended her GP and expressed concerns at the prospect of giving birth to a 2nd child with developmental problems and that she wanted to undergo all and any tests to exclude this. The GP referred to Eastbourne District General Hospital but did not include within his referral letter any information about the Claimant’s 1st child, his disability or relay to the Consultant the mother’s concerns as to having a 2nd disabled child and her wish to undergo ante-natal tests to exclude this.

At the booking appointment and throughout the pregnancy our Client’s evidence was that she informed those caring for her at the hospital of her 1st child’s disability, expressed her concerns about having a 2nd disabled child and requested all and any tests that were available to exclude any disability to her unborn child. There was no evidence within the records of this and there was a factual dispute over whether and what information the mother gave to those caring for her in her subsequent pregnancy. It was also investigated to what extent, irrespective of any concerns raised whether there should have been any ante natal testing due to the fetal condition.

Our Client’s 2nd child was born prematurely by emergency caesarean section. She was diagnosed as suffering from a terminal deletion of the long arm of chromosome 10. The consequences of this defect have been a marked developmental delay with mild facial deformities and a neurogenic bladder. She also had behavioural problems. Evidence obtained confirmed that this abnormality would have been revealed by way of an amniocentesis. Our Client’s evidence was that had this abnormality been revealed she would have undergone a termination.

Failure to diagnose ovarian cyst causing miscarriage

Our client attended hospital with severe abdominal pain when she was 20 weeks pregnant. As a result of a negligent failure to properly investigate the cause of her pain by way of ultrasound scan an ovarian cyst went undiagnosed for four days. As a result of the delay in diagnosis and subsequent surgical intervention our client’s right fallopian tube and ovary had to be removed. She also had to undergo a much more complicated surgical procedure than would otherwise have been the case and the extent of bleeding sustained during surgery led to a miscarriage on the following morning.

Negligence in respect of the four day delay in diagnosis was eventually admitted. Investigations carried out during the course of the claim confirmed that our client’s remaining fallopian tube was unobstructed and that it would be possible for her to naturally conceive in the future. Expert evidence confirmed that our client had suffered a significant psychiatric disorder over and above an ordinary grief reaction. A settlement of £24,500 was agreed.

Post traumatic stress

We acted for parents who experienced a distressing incident shortly after the delivery of their baby at an obstetric unit. A doctor rushed into the delivery suite and advised everyone that the baby had died. In fact this was incorrect. As a consequence, our clients suffered with post traumatic stress caused by this information. Damages were recovered for each of our clients of £20,000.

Haemorrhage following childbirth

Our client suffered with a serious haemorrhage following delivery of her son. The hospital failed to act on her symptoms and bleeding for a considerable time. Our client endured a very distressing period during the delay and suffered from a psychiatric injury. Settlement was agreed of £9,000.

Brain injury at birth

We acted for the family of a young man who suffered a brain injury at birth. He was subsequently diagnosed with cerebral palsy. Damages were recovered of £800,000.

Post partum haemorrhage

We obtained £9,000 damages for a client who suffered serious post partum haemorrhage after the delivery of her son. She had a minor psychiatric injury as a result of this.

Alleged negligence

We recovered £17,000 for our client, a young mother whose child was tragically stillborn as a result of alleged negligence. As the law currently stands parents of a stillborn child are not entitled to the statutory bereavement award. The agreed settlement reflected the significant psychiatric injury suffered by our client as a result of the death of her child.

Wrongful birth

Our client gave birth to a child with developmental delay caused by a chromosomal abnormality. It was alleged that our client’s GP and consultant were negligent in failing to advise her to undergo an amniocentesis, which would have detected the abnormality and allowed our client to have a termination. Although the defendants vigorously contested liability we were able to negotiate a significant pre trial settlement.

Agreed damages: £75,000