BBC News has highlighted the issues of birth injuries due to maternity care failings following a clinical negligence claim against Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.
The article covers the story of Megan, born in 2010 with cerebral palsy, after mum, Sarah, was persistently dismissed by the midwives at the Hospital prior to the birth.
Megan’s mum, Sarah, was 13 days overdue, had reported the baby moving less and had begun having contractions. Nevertheless, the midwives sent her home.
Had Sarah’s concerns been addressed then, the catastrophic brain injury at birth could have been avoided. Failures including inadequate monitoring and delay in review by a doctor were identified. Sarah is quoted in the article as saying: “I voiced my concerns during my final days of pregnancy and was not listened to……..I now want other expectant mothers to trust their own instincts and to feel empowered to voice any concerns they may have about their pregnancy, in the hope that no other child has to go through the same trauma as Megan”
As a result of the negligence, Megan has been left with significant learning and communication difficulties and needs round the clock care. Her Mum has had to give up work to care for her daughter and their lives have been turned upside down.
After a 10-year battle for justice, Megan has been awarded £19 million pounds which will be used to fund care and specialist equipment for the rest of Megan’s life.
After the Trust initially denied the claim, the Chief Medical Officer at Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust eventually apologised for the standard of care given to Sarah and Megan and recognised that the injuries have been very distressing and significant for Megan and her family.
What is a Birth Injury?
Birth injury is damage that occurs as a result of physical pressure during the birthing process, usually, but not always, during transit through the birth canal.
Birth injuries can involve:
- Inadequate monitoring of the baby or mother
- Mistakes made by a surgeon or anaesthetist eg. bladder and ureter injuries sustained during Caesarean sections.
- Bowel / Intestines cut during a C–Section
- A poor standard of care during the delivery resulting in cuts, bruising, hip and shoulder damage and fractures to a baby
- Negligence or mistakes made in identifying and treating umbilical cord compression
- Failure to treat or adequately treat serious post-birth complications in the mother eg. fissures, negligence associated with birth tears and /or episiotomy, poor stitching
- Failure to identify and treat secondary infections or other infections eg Group B Strep infections
- Oxygen deprivation to a baby resulting in Cerebral Palsy
- Brain injuries to a baby associated with mistakes made before, during or after childbirth
- Birth injuries associated with fetal head impaction
- Placenta or parts of the placenta retained
- Mistakes made in reading CTG results on a fetal heart monitor
- Serious birth trauma to mother or baby
- Mistakes made during a breech birth or the failure to plan for a breech delivery,
- Mistakes made in the administration of an epidural
How to Claim Compensation For Mistakes Made During Childbirth
If it can be shown that the treatment given to a mother or baby – before, during or after birth, fell below the standards of a reasonably competent health care professional, you may be entitled to make a compensation claim.
No amount of compensation will change what happened, however, like with Megan and Sarah, it can go a long way in easing financial pressures and ensuring the right care package is in place to help support your needs.
Devonshires Claims support victims of medical negligence by providing:
- A free no-obligation case evaluation
- A no win no fee agreement
- A network of medical experts and specialist medical negligence barristers
- Over 20 years’ experience in securing justice and compensation