UK Birth Medical Negligence

In the UK birth medical negligence can have devastating consequences – not just for the child who has been injured during their delivery, but for parents, siblings and the extended family as well. The costs of providing care for a baby injured by birth medical negligence in the UK can be substantial, and hospitals are often reluctant to admit liability at an early stage – leaving parents to make major sacrifices to raise their child until compensation is paid.

Making a birth medical negligence claim in the UK is often complicated by the need to establish where a mistake in pre or post-natal care was made and who by. It also has to be shown that the injury sustained due to birth medical negligence could have been avoided “at the time and in the circumstances” with more professional care.

For these reasons, it is advisable to speak with a medical negligence solicitor at the first practical opportunity to establish negligence. Once negligence is proved, parents can begin receiving interim payments of UK birth medical negligence compensation until such time as the lifelong needs of your child – and how much they will cost – is calculated.

Dyskinetic Cerebral Palsy Compensation Claim Settled in High Court

A High Court judge has found the Coombe Women´s Hospital in Dublin liable in a dyskinetic cerebral palsy compensation claim brought against it by the mother of a ten-year-old boy.

The claim for dyskinetic cerebral palsy compensation was brought by Dr Fiona Murphy from County Dublin, on behalf of her son Eoin (10) following the delivery at the hospital on 12th July 2002.

Eoin was given birth to suffering from almost total acute hypoxic ischaemia, which a later investigation into the claim for dyskinetic cerebral palsy due to medical negligence found had started two or three minutes before to his delivery.

However, due to a paediatric registrar not being present at the delivery, Eoin was not resuscitated for seventeen minutes – during which time Eoin suffered irreversible brain injuries and now suffers from severe dyskinetic cerebral palsy.

After hearing testimony at the High Court in Dublin, Ms Justice Mary Irvine commented that, had the hospital behaved with reasonable care, there was no reason why Eoin should not have been properly ventilated before he was nine minutes old which would have then prevented his irreversible injuries.

In finding the Coombe Hospital responsible for Eoin´s dyskinetic cerebral palsy, the judge stated that “the delay was unacceptable and the hospital was negligent in failing to ensure the child received the type of intubation and ventilation mandated in the first 10 minutes of his life”.

The judge at the High Court subsequently adjourned the dyskinetic cerebral palsy compensation claim until May for the assessment of damages.

This article is about a medical negligence case in Ireland. You can find out more about medical negligence in Ireland here.

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Claim for Birth Injuries due to the Lack of an Available Obstetrician Heard in Court

A judge at Dublin High Court has approved a €1.4 million interim settlement of a claim for birth injuries due to the lack of an available obstetrician.

Alex Butler (8) from Dunmore East in County Waterford was born at the Waterford Regional Hospital in April 2005 after an avoidable delay in her delivery. During the delay, Alex was starved of oxygen in the womb and suffered brain damage. She now suffers from permanent tetraplegia and requires care twenty-four hours a day.

The delay of just twelve minutes was attributed to the hospital´s failure to have an adequate number of properly trained competent medical staff available to assist with Alex´s delivery. Her mother´s consultant obstetrician had been allowed to take leave at the same time as the hospital´s two other obstetricians and the hospital had employed just one locum obstetrician to cover the shortfall.

Through her mother – Sonya – Alex made a claim for birth injuries due to the lack of an available obstetrician, alleging that the hospital and Health Service Executive (HSE) had been negligent. It was further alleged that Sonya´s pre-operative assessment had been substandard and there was a failure to recognise the necessity for an emergency Caesarean section.

The Dublin High Court heard that the HSE admitted liability for Alex´s injuries, and a representative from Waterford Regional Hospital read out an apology for the mismanagement of Alex´s birth. Both the HSE and Waterford Regional Hospital accepted that the mistakes that led to Alex´s birth injuries should never have been allowed to happen.

The Court also heard that a €1.4 million interim settlement of Alex´s claim for birth injuries due to the lack of an available obstetrician had been agreed between the parties. The settlement is for two years, when Alex´s case will be reviewed again and an assessment of Alex´s future care needs conducted.

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Gynaecological Negligence Compensation for Hysterectomy Patient

A woman who lost her child due to a medical error by staff at the Royal Cornwall Hospital has been awarded £62,000 in gynaecological negligence compensation in an out-of-court settlement.

The woman, who was not named, attended the Royal Cornwall Hospital in November 2007 for a hysterectomy procedure, during which the medical team discovered that she was fourteen weeks pregnant. The woman had been unaware that she was pregnant but, once her cervix had been abstracted, the continuation of the pregnancy was unviable.

Following an investigation into the operation it was discovered that the consultant gynaecologist – Dr Rob Jones – had seen that the uterus was “abnormally large” but had continued with the procedure in spite of this. Dr Jones has resigned since the incident and is being investigated by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists due to the frequency of surgical complications during his procedures.

After seeking legal advice, the female made a claim for gynaecological negligence compensation against the Royal Cornwall Hospital Trust stating that, had she known she was expecting a child, she would never have gone ahead with the hysterectomy procedure. Although having suffered no physical harm, it was found that the patient had undergone a significant emotional stress.

The hospital Trust admitted liability for an “inadvertent termination” and conceded that that the diagnosis of the pregnancy should have been made at the point when it was still possible to for the pregnancy to continue. After negotiating with the woman´s legal representative´s, a settlement of £62,000 in gynaecological negligence compensation errors was agreed.

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Widower Awarded Compensation for Failure to Treat a Postpartum Haemorrhage

A man has been awarded €850,000 compensation for the failure to treat a postpartum haemorrhage that resulted in the death of his wife.

Padraic Flanagan (43) from Castlebar in County Mayo made the medical negligence claim following an inquest into the death of his wife – Evelyn – who died while giving birth to the couple´s second child in October 2007 at the Mayo General Hospital.

An initial post-mortem into Evelyn´s death concluded that it was attributable to an amniotic fluid embolism. However, Padraic criticised the findings of the post-mortem, and claimed that the deterioration in his wife´s condition after the birth of their child was due to a postpartum haemorrhage of Evelyn´s uterus which was not detected or adequately treated.

The subsequent inquest into Evelyn´s death returned a verdict of death by medical adventure. After hearing the coroner´s verdict, Padraic sought legal advice and claimed compensation for the failure to treat a postpartum haemorrhage against the Mayo General Hospital and Evelyn´s consultant obstetrician, Dr Murtada Mohamed.

Both the Mayo General Hospital and Dr Mohamed denied their liability for Evelyn´s death, but her widower persisted with his legal action, and court proceedings were issued against the alleged negligent parties. However, shortly before the claim for compensation for the failure to treat a postpartum haemorrhage was due to be heard in court, the Health Service Executive admitted that Evelyn´s death could have been prevented with greater care.

As no agreement could be negotiated on how much compensation for the failure to treat a postpartum haemorrhage Padraic was entitled to, the case proceeded to the Dublin High Court for assessment of damages. After hearing the circumstances of Evelyn´s death, Mr Justice Michael Peart awarded Padraic €850,000 compensation against the Health Service Executive. The claim against Dr Mohamed was struck out.

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Erb’s Palsy Birth Injury Settlement approved at £1m

A teenager, who suffers from an Erb’s Palsy injury due to alleged negligence at her birth, has had a Erb’s Palsy Birth Injury compensation award of £1m approved in the High Court.

Sarah O’Sullivan (14), sustained ed a shoulder injury during her birth at hospital in 1997 which lead to her being diagnosed with right-sided Erb’s Palsy as turned older. Alleging that the management of her birth was not handled correctly and that the injury could have been avoided with due diligence, Sarah sued the hospital and consultant obstetrician Dr. Patrick Kieran through her father, Kevin.

Both the hospital and Dr. Kieran argued the claims made against them, but the court heard that they had agreed to a birth injury compensation settlement of £1m without admission of liability.

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Birth Medical Negligence Compensation for Delayed Caesarean Awarded to Brain Damaged Girl

A six-year-old girl from Northamptonshire has been awarded a multi-million pound settlement of birth medical negligence compensation for delayed Caesarean after the NHS Trust responsible for her injuries acknowledged their liability at London´s High Court.
The girl, who cannot be named for legal reasons, won her claim for delayed Caesarean compensation after the Northampton General Hospital NHS Trust admitted that mistakes were committed in the management of her birth in March 2006.

The High Court heard that the girl was “effectively stillborn” due to being deprived of oxygen when she was eventually delivered following a four hour delay. Due to the delayed Caesarean and consequent brain damage, the child suffers from epilepsy, autism and kidney problems and will require round-the-clock care for the rest of her life.

In a statement read in court, the Northampton General Hospital NHS Trust apologised unreservedly for the errors which were made at the time of the girl´s birth and paid tribute to the child´s mother – through whom the claim for delayed Caesarean compensation was made – for the care that she had shown for her daughter.

In a negotiated settlement of birth medical negligence compensation for delayed Caesarean, the girl is to receive tax-free payments of 155,000 pounds per year until she reaches the age of 21, at which point the annual payments will increase to 282,000 pounds per year. The approved compensation award also included a lump sum payment of 1 million pounds to account for the six years of care provided by the girl´s mother since her birth.

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Implanon Compensation Claims Increase due to Doctor Negligence

Doctor negligence is the main cause for the increase of Implanon compensation claims according to the manufacturer of the contraceptive device – Merck, Sharp & Dohme (MSD). Their comment was following a Channel 4 News investigation into why 584 women using the contraceptive device had fallen pregnant since the implant was introduced into the UK in 1999.

The news report showed that 1,607 complaints about the implant have been received by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulation Authority (MHRA) from women who have sustained an Implanon injury, and NHS Trusts have paid almost 200,000 pounds in medical negligence compensation to seven of the victims; with a further seven Implanon compensation claims currently waiting to be resolved.

The Implanon contraceptive device is made to stop women becoming pregnant for three years by releasing hormones into the bloodstream from a 40mm tube implanted into the their arm. However, if the implant is inserted incorrectly, or inserted at the wrong time of the month, the result can be an unintended pregnancy and the psychological trauma of whether to terminate the pregnancy or accept a major lifestyle change.

Not all the Implanon compensation claims have been made because of unintended pregnancies. Other Implanon injuries have been recorded; including scarring injuries when the implant has been incorrectly inserted and injuries sustained when it has proved difficult to remove an expired Implanon device. Furthermore, it is not only the manufacturers who think that doctor negligence is attributable to the Implanon injuries and unintended pregnancies.

Talking in an interview after the Channel 4 News investigation had been broadcast, Dr. Clare Gerada – chair of the Royal College of General Practitioners – said “Clearly there have been some problems. But every GP who intends to fit an implant must be competent and confident and be able to show that they have received the necessary training.” Her worry was for those women not captured in the Channel 4 News investigation that have given birth or terminated their unintended pregnancies.

As much as they are equally entitled to make Implanon compensation claims as the women who have already brought complaints against their doctors, they may be suffering alone without help or support. One woman spoken to for the news report described how her marriage collapsed and she suffered with nightmares for months after having a termination. Without making Implanon compensation claims, it is not likely that these women will have the resources to seek the professional counselling they need.

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Clinical Negligence Award Agreed for Brain Injury Compensation

An individual, who sustained brain damage due to alleged negligence at his birth, has settled his brain injury compensation claim against the NHS East Midlands Strategic Health Authority.

Mathew Eacott (aged 25) of Mansfield, Nottinghamshire, was given birth to at the Kings Mill Hospital in 1986 showing no signs of life. He was resuscitated by medics but, it was claimed in an action for brain injury compensation, that had the medical team acted sooner Mathew would not have sustained the traumatic injuries he lives with today.

Mr Justice Wilkie was told at the High Court in London that Mathew now suffers with cerebral palsy, mobility problems, limited vision, behavioural difficulties and epilepsy due to the alleged medical negligence. The Kings Mill Hospital and NHS East Midlands Strategic Health Authority but, the judge heard, had agreed to a brain injury compensation settlement on the grounds that a trial in court could have gone either way.

In approving the settlement, which is constituted of a lump sum payment of 200,000 pounds and a yet-to-be-agreed annual payment, Mr Justice Wilkie said “In those circumstances, the parties are to be congratulated in having the wisdom to settle the case on a compromise basis, rather than put all at risk on a trial.”

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15,000 Pounds for Missed Severed Tendon Diagnosis

A renowned magician, whose doctor´s overlooked a severed tendon in his hand which threatened to end his career, has been awarded 15,000 pounds in an out-of-court settlement of his medical negligence claim.

Kyle Summers (40) from Burbage, Wiltshire, had attended the Accident and Emergency Department of the George Eliot Hospital in Nuneaton after a cup he had been cleaning shattered in his hand. Doctors at the hospital took an x-ray of Kyle´s left hand to ensure that there was no china lodged in his thumb and then stitched the wound up and sent Kyle home.

When Kyle´s started to experience difficulty performing his magic tricks, he decided to have the hand looked at by his GP, but because the notes made at the hospital indicated that there was no damage to the tendon – even though the cut on Kyle´s thumb had been deep enough to reach the bone – the GP and a physiotherapist decided that the tendon had swollen.

It was after a further check-up six weeks later that the true cause of the problem was identified. Kyle had to undergo two operations to insert a rod in his wrist and attach a thicker tendon before the injury started to heal. Only after months of intense specialist physiotherapy did Kyle gain the dexterity in his hand to enable him to work again.

After seeking legal advice, Kyle sued the George Eliot NHS Trust for medical negligence and, in an out-of-court settlement, received 15,000 pounds for the missed diagnosis of his severed tendon.

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London Boy Awarded 6.6 Million Pounds for Birth Injury

A young boy, who suffered catastrophic brain damage during his delivery, has had a compensation settlement package approved at London´s High Court.

Leo Whiten (7) from Tooting, London, was born in 2004 at St. George´s Hospital in Tooting but, due to the mismanagement of his birth, suffered brain damage which has left him requiring full-time care as he is unable to stand or walk by himself and has limited speech, which was described in court as non-functional.

St. George´s Healthcare NHS Trust admitted shortcomings in respect of managing Samantha Nowell´s labour – Leo´s mother – and during his birth, and at the High Court in London, Mrs Justice Swift heard expert testimony that Leo will always be totally dependent on the care of others for his daily activities.

Announcing the settlement package, which consists of a 2.7 million pounds lump payment and staged annual payments, the judge stated that “Leo will never be able to live independently, will not be capable of any form of employment and will never have the necessary mental capacity to be able to manage his own affairs”.

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