The first report of Donna Ockenden and her team into the review of maternity services at The Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust has now been published.
The full report can be read here and has identified a number of important failings and concerns but with important remedial steps and actions.
In summary, a number of local and national actions are highlighted with delays in taking appropriate action during the birth of new-borns being a recurring theme within the cases reviewed. Sadly at Anthony Collins Solicitors we regularly come across cases involving “avoidable delay” in these types of scenarios which can lead to devastating consequences. L, is one such client, who suffered a brain injury due to the negligent management of her birth in 1997. One of the key areas of concern was substandard management of the later stages of her mother’s labour which included a delay in delivering L by way of caesarean section following excessively prolonged efforts at forceps delivery.
At delivery, our client was floppy, required resuscitation and was found to have her umbilical cord wrapped around her neck. It was alleged that the delay was in part caused by a lack of communication between the midwifery staff, the obstetric staff and the anaesthetist. This, in turn, it was alleged, led to inaccurate assessments of our client’s condition from the CTG monitoring and a failure to recognise severe fetal distress.
L had significant cognitive and physical impairment, but the defendant denied liability throughout the proceedings. With the support of specialist experts, we managed to bring the issues between the parties to a round table meeting shortly before trial. Following extensive negotiations, the defendant accepted that L would need substantial lifelong care and support and was unlikely to gain employment or capacity to manage her financial affairs. We managed to reach a settlement based on a 55/45 per cent split on liability in favour of L. This settlement was subsequently approved by the court.
L was awarded a multi-million-pound lump sum (to include an amount for our clients’ mother representing the care and assistance she had provided to her daughter) plus annual payments for her life for care and case management.
L’s mother reflects on the case commenting:
“Losing your “child that should have been” their hopes, dreams and their future is an everlasting burden of grief. The challenges for an injured child and their family is a multifaceted lifelong prickly journey.
Sarah of Anthony Collins Solicitors and the team have provided the scaffolding required during our uphill fragile journey. They have been the speck of light leading us towards hope during the darkness.
Under such devastating circumstances diligent, supportive and professional representation is vital. They have been the umbrella helping to shelter us during the storms. The pain we feel will not end but Anthony Collins Solicitors has worked diligently to secure some financial aid now and most importantly for her future. Thank you all.”
For more information
This case was handled by Sarah Huntbach, senior associate in our clinical negligence department. Please contact her for more information about this case or birth injury claims generally.