Archive for October 2015

Judge Awards Compensation for Midwife Negligence

A judge at the Court of Session in Edinburgh has awarded £725,000 compensation for midwife negligence that resulted in a brachial plexus injury.

The claim for compensation for midwife negligence was made by an unnamed woman on behalf of her child – identified in court only as “Baby C” – who suffered a permanent brachial plexus injury to his right shoulder after excessive force was used during his delivery.

The court heard how Baby C was born at the Law Hospital Maternity Unit in July 1999, and how the delivery was initially going to be performed by a student midwife – Lynn Kerr. However, when Baby C started to emerge with the umbilical cord wrapped around his throat, nurse Kerr handed over to the more experienced Sister Rosemary Murphy.

According to the mother´s legal team, Sister Murphy failed to recognise a potential medical emergency and used excessive force – described in court as “similar to a tug of war” – to complete the delivery of Baby C. Lawyers at the Court of Session said that Sister Murphy´s actions were “pretty violent” and claimed that she had failed to follow protocols established in 1999 for such a scenario.

Sister Murphy and the Lanarkshire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust denied negligence and contested the claim for compensation for midwife negligence. However, Judge Lady Rae found in the mother´s favour – ruling that there was sufficient evidence of negligence to prove that Sister Murphy acted wrongly. In a written judgement, Lady Rae commented:

“I am satisfied that in course of his birth, C suffered a severe brachial plexus injury to his right side as a result of the negligence of the defenders’ employee Sister Rosemary Murphy and for whom the defenders are responsible. Sister Murphy failed to recognise an obstetric emergency after the student midwife had been unable to deliver the body of C after delivery of his head. As a result of these failures C was born with a severe brachial plexus injury to his right shoulder.”

Saying that Sister Murphy should have called for assistance “at the time and in the circumstances”, Lady Rae awarded Baby C £725,000 compensation for midwife negligence.

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Liability Admitted in Claim for the Negligent Treatment of a Broken Leg

An NHS Trust has admitted liability in a claim for the negligent treatment of a broken leg made by a woman who suffered years of unnecessary pain.

In August 2012, twenty-five year old Sally Marsh from Diglis in Worcestershire broke two bones in her right leg when landing awkwardly while playing soccer for her local women´s football team. Sally was taken by ambulance to Worcester Royal Hospital, where her leg was put into a full leg cast.

Sally was discharged being told it was okay for her to put weight on her right leg. The full leg cast was replaced with a half leg cast after eight weeks, and then Sally wore the half leg cast for a further six weeks. When the half leg cast was removed, it became apparent that Sally´s broken leg had not healed properly.

Sally went to see an orthopaedic specialist who informed her that the bone in her leg had set at a nineteen degree angle. The specialist said that Sally would need an operation to align her bones properly but, due the NHS Trust constantly postponing the operation, Sally did not undergo surgery until nine months later.

In the intervening period, Sally experienced a lot of pain from her leg. She had to take time off from work and was unable to pursue her usual pastimes and hobbies. When the operation to realign the bone in her leg eventually took place, Sally had a metal cage fitted to her leg to help support it, but the cage led to the development of an infection and Sally had to take repeated doses of antibiotics.

After seeking legal advice, Sally made a compensation claim for the negligent treatment of a broken leg against the Worcester Acute Hospitals NHS Trust. Sally alleged in her claim that she should not have been discharged so early after being admitted to hospital, that there was a failure by the hospital to appreciate the need for prompt surgical intervention, and that the failing of the hospital led to avoidable nerve damage and a deformity in her right leg.

After conducting an investigation, the Worcester Acute Hospitals NHS Trust acknowledged failings in the standard of care Sally had received. The NHS trust admitted liability for Sally´s injuries and her solicitors are now negotiating a settlement of her claim for the negligent treatment of a broken leg.

After the admission of liability had been received, Sally commented: “It’s a relief that at least now the NHS Trust has admitted that it made mistakes and my legal case can move to the next stage. I just hope that no one else has to suffer as I have in the future.”

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