AB –v– CD

This claim arose out of the death of a baby boy as a result of severe injuries sustained by him at birth. It was alleged by the family of the Deceased that the Defendant Maternity Hospital was negligent in failing to identify and react appropriately to symptoms indicative of foetal distress and in failing to deliver the infant at an earlier stage. It was alleged that as a result of this negligence, the infant suffered neurological injuries which resulted in his death. Both the mother and father of the Deceased also had concurrent claims for “Nervous Shock” arising out of the traumatic circumstances surrounding the birth and death.

By way of background, in 2009, the mother of the Deceased attended at the Defendant Maternity Hospital with a suspected history of her waters having broken. Her obstetric history consisted of the delivery of a baby boy 4 years previously by emergency caesarean section following an abnormal cardiotocograph (a trace which records the foetal heartbeat and uterine contractions, more commonly referred to as a CTG).  It was confirmed that the mother’s waters had not in fact broken but monitoring by way of CTG was commenced nonetheless.  

Throughout labour, the mother was noted to be experiencing significant vaginal bleeding. In addition, the CTG trace was of concern with progressive indications of foetal distress. Notwithstanding this, attempts were not made to expedite delivery until a very late stage, following which, the infant was born in an extremely poor condition. He required resuscitation and oxygen, intubation for poor or no respiratory effort, and was immediately transferred to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.  At two days of age, the infant’s ventilation was discontinued as it was apparent he would not survive due to his injuries. It was only at this point that his mother had the opportunity to hold him for the first time. The infant died tragically that day in the arms of his mother with his father by her side.

As aforementioned, the allegations of negligence in this case centred around the failure of the Defendant Maternity Hospital to ensure delivery of the infant at an earlier stage in the context of an increasingly concerning CTG trace with clear indications of foetal distress, obvious and significant vaginal bleeding of the infant’s mother throughout labour, and a woman with a previous history of an emergency caesarean section for an abnormal CTG. An Inquest into the death took place which established the cause of death as acute generalised hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy. It was the expert evidence of the Plaintiff family that had the infant been delivered at the correct time, taking into account the above indications, he would have survived. Proceedings in this case were issued in August 2011 in respect of the wrongful death and also the psychiatric injuries or “Nervous Shock” suffered by each parent in witnessing the traumatic events. Prior to the delivery of a Defence by the Defendant, all parties engaged in Mediation in June 2013 which resulted in a six figure settlement on behalf of the parents and their family.

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01 September 2013

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