The distressing implications of negligence during childbirth

Giving birth should be one of the most magical moments in someone’s life, but for some, it ends in tragedy.

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Advances in medical science now mean childbirth is safer than ever. The majority of births in the UK go according to plan due to the expert doctors and nurses in our NHS.

However, when something does go wrong it can have devastating implications for both the baby and the family. Mistakes by the medical experts can result in lifelong complications.

Recent high-profile cases

The upsetting nature of birth negligence cases was recently brought to light in Scotland, where Dr Vaishnavy Vilvanathan Laxman’s mistakes made national headlines.* Dr Laxman’s decision-making was called into question after the death of a baby during birth.

A Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service (MPTS) panel ruled that the doctor’s decision to proceed with a natural birth, rather than performing an emergency C-section, caused the decapitation of the baby. This choice was deemed “negligent and fell below the standards ordinarily to be expected”.

In addition to this, earlier this year, Nottingham City Hospital apologised after a baby died following a cut to his skull during an emergency C-section in July 2013.**

An inquest was held shortly after the death. It recorded a verdict of accidental death and criticised the hospital trust for its “woefully inadequate” investigation.

Childbirth in the UK

It is important to know that sometimes things can go wrong in the delivery room even though there is no negligence.

However, last year, The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) released a report shedding light on the mistakes that do occur in maternity units across the country.***

The report examined the cases of 1,136 babies born in 2015, of which 126 were stillborn, 156 died within a week of birth and 854 suffered severe brain injury.

What is a birth injury?

There are a number of injuries that can occur during delivery, particularly if there is negligence involved. Some injuries are temporary, while others can last a lifetime.

Examples of birth issues caused by clinical negligence can include:

  • Fractured bones, muscle injuries
  • Damage to organs during a C-section
  • Cerebral palsy caused by limiting baby’s oxygen supply
  • Other brain injuries relating to lack of oxygen supply
  • Errors with intervention, such as incorrect use of forceps

Our solicitors often see clinical negligence cases that involve these types of injuries and more. For information surrounding what constituents clinical negligence, read our useful guide here – Clinical Negligence Guide.

How Percy Hughes & Roberts can help

At Percy Hughes & Roberts we understand that bringing forward a clinical negligence claim against a professional can seem daunting. Our experienced team can guide you through your claim, step-by-step, and ensure that you feel comfortable in progressing the claim.

Norman Jones has over 40 years of experience in dealing with clients’ claims, having successfully brought claims locally in the Wirral and also nationally against GPs, hospitals and dentists. Norman is a member of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers, a former President of the Liverpool Law Society and is one of the most experienced negligence solicitors in the UK.

If you would like to contact Norman or one of our expert negligence solicitors you can do so by calling 0800 781 3894 or by completing the “Get in touch” form on this site.

 

* https://news.sky.com/story/doctor-who-caused-decapitation-of-baby-in-delivery-cleared-of-serious-misconduct-11395964

** https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-nottinghamshire-42553147

*** https://www.rcog.org.uk/globalassets/documents/guidelines/research--audit/each-baby-counts-2015-summary-report-june-2017.pdf