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Birth Injury Caused by Incorrect Interpretation of CTG Traces by Medical Professionals

Background

Mrs HY* fell pregnant in mid-2018. Her care was managed by the obstetrics team at a Central London NHS Hospital. Mrs HY attended the hospital for induction of labour on in March 2019. Her labour progressed very slowly. It was accepted by the Defendant NHS Trust in its subsequent internal inquiry report that there were various failings in the management of the labour, including:

  1. A failure to recognise that the possibility of an obstructed labour at 1020 hours on 25 March;
  2. A failure to prepare for delivery from around 1050 hours, when the Cardiotocography or CTG (the device used to measure of the baby’s heart rate) trace was very abnormal;
  3. A failure to consider a Caesarean section at or around 1110 hours;
  4. A failure to encourage Mrs HY to push from 1140 hours;
  5.  A failure to initiate an obstetric review at 1150 hours;
  6. A failure to recognise that the CTG trace was abnormal ( ‘pathological’) at 1450 hours;
  7.  Subsequent failures in the management, such that her son was not delivered until 1641 hours on 25 March 2019

Both parents felt that there was no particular urgency in the management of the labour until the midwife pressed the emergency buzzer at about 1400 hours, in response to a pathological CTG trace. A junior doctor attended at this time and (mistakenly) concluded that the trace was not pathological, and the labour was allowed to continue. There was a further delay whilst Mr HY waited to go to theatre.

After his birth, the baby was resuscitated and then taken to the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit (“PICU”). Mrs HY was taken to the ITU, then the high dependency unit (“HDU”). She was mistakenly transferred to a normal ward for a period, but then returned to the HDU. Both parents visited their son when he was in the PICU. They were advised that he had sustained a very severe brain injury and his life expectancy was extremely limited. Following some very difficult conversations between the PICU doctors and the parents, life support was withdrawn on 3 March 2019 and their son quickly passed away. The baby’s very tragic death and the circumstances in which it arose have had a devastating impact on Mrs HY, her husband and the wider family.

How Hodge Jones & Allen solicitors helped

Our medical negligence experts were instructed by Mrs HY to recover damages and seek an apology from the NHS Trust responsible for her maternity care.

A formal letter of claim was quickly despatched based on the very clear case as set out in the Defendant NHS Trust’s own Serious Untoward Incident Report (‘SUI’) and approximately 12 months later the NHS Trust finally admitted liability and an apology was received from the Chief Executive of the NHS Trust.

Medical reports were obtained relating to Mrs HY’s condition and prognosis in terms of psychological and possible physical injuries. A schedule of loss was then prepared and forwarded to the NHS lawyers.

Settlement

Shortly thereafter, the claim settled in the sum of £48,000. No breakdown was agreed between Hodge Jones Allen and the Defendant’s solicitors but If Mrs HY’s case proceeded to trial, I consider that she would have recovered the following approximate sums:

  1. Compensation for psychological injuries : £27,500
  2. Statutory Fatal Accident award: £12,980
  3. Compensation for the estate of her son: £1,750
  4. Counselling costs: £5,250
  5. Funeral costs: £556
  6. Miscellaneous: £210
  7. Probate: £300

Total: £48,000

Mrs HY will be donating a portion of the compensation to a charity nominated by Hodge Jones & Allen. This was a very tragic case which was a very avoidable death. Sadly this was another case in which both midwives and doctors failed to correctly interpret CTG traces to an acceptable standard.

Our leading medical negligence experts will be able to address any concerns you have about birth injury and will assist and guide you through the entire legal process. Call us for free today on 0808 252 5231 or get in touch online.

*names and dates have been changed to protect the identity of the client 

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