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Lancashire hospital negligence caused boy permanent brain damage, court rules


An 11-year-old boy suffered permanent brain damage after birth because of negligence by hospital midwives who then fabricated notes, a high court judge has ruled.

Jayden Astley now suffers from deafness, motor impairments, cognitive difficulties and behavioural problems, his lawyers said.

After a five-day trial at the high court in Liverpool, Mr Justice Spencer, ruled that staff at the Royal Preston hospital, Lancashire, were negligent in their treatment of Jayden in 2012.

The brain injury was caused by prolonged umbilical cord compression that resulted in acute profound hypoxia – lack of oxygen – sustained during the management of the birth, the court found.

Midwives failed to accurately monitor Jayden’s heart rate when he was born and failed to identify his bradycardic, or slow, heart rate during delivery. The judge also found that some entries in notes were fabricated.

In his judgment, Mr Justice Spencer said it was agreed that all permanent damage to Jayden’s brain would have been avoided if he had been delivered three minutes earlier.

He said: “I have no doubt that, but for the breaches of duty which I have identified, that would have happened.”

In his judgment, Spencer said recordings of the baby’s foetal heart rate “were inaccurate and, indeed, fabricated.”

In a statement, Lancashire teaching hospitals trust said it apologised unreservedly for the failings found by the court and offered “profound apologies” to Jayden and his family.

A spokesman said: “The findings are concerning. There has been much work undertaken within maternity services since this occurred more than a decade ago and appropriate action will be taken to respond to the judge’s findings.

“The trust hopes that the judgment on liability will help Jayden to now arrange the future care and assistance he requires and will work with his legal team in relation to the assessment of damages and any care regime required.”