Advising with empathy and experience

Hospital admits failings in child brain injury claim.

CNCI act for a young boy who was born with cerebral palsy following a catalogue of failures in his mother’s antenatal care in the days preceding his birth.

As a result of previous health issues, plans were made for a growth scan in the third trimester of the pregnancy followed by serial growth scans. However, the mother’s antenatal care was transferred to a different hospital late in her third trimester. At this point it was decided that there were no risk factors involved in the pregnancy.

A growth scan was requested by the midwife treating the mother, due to concerns about the baby’s size. However, the requested growth scan was never carried out.

Around two weeks later, the mother was seen at the hospital that had taken over responsibility for her care. It was noted that her blood pressure was raised and there had been decreased foetal movement over the previous days. Despite this, no checks on the baby’s heartbeat were carried out.

The hospital maintained during the subsequent complaints process that an ultrasound scan had been carried out at the point that the lack of foetal movement was diagnosed, but no records of an ultrasound scan on this date were ever disclosed by them.

The following day, the mother returned to the hospital for a blood pressure check due to a lack of foetal movements. A cardiotocography was carried out at 10:10am. At 10:45 the cardiotocography was reviewed by a doctor and deemed to be suspicious. It was decided at 11:44am that an emergency caesarean section was required.

The baby was born at 12:30pm in very poor condition. He was admitted to the neonatal unit at the hospital and had a very difficult start to his life. He was later diagnosed with cerebral palsy.

At no point did the hospital assess the boy’s mother as having a high risk pregnancy, despite her high blood pressure and previous medical history. The hospital also failed to carry out the appropriate CTG scans. Had the scans been carried out at the appropriate time, extra surveillance of the high risk pregnancy would have been carried out, thereby decreasing the risk of complications.

The CNCI team investigated this matter and obtained supportive medical evidence. In subsequent negotiations the hospital accepted that they had failed to provide a reasonable standard of care and that they therefore carried responsibility for any damage suffered by the child as a consequence. Evidence in relation to the extent of the damage to the child and his long term needs is now being obtained so that an appropriate award of compensation can be approved by the Court.