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The birth of a baby is an exciting and happy time…
…for families across England and Wales every day of the week. Unfortunately, sometimes things don’t go to plan and that can result in problems for the mother or the baby.
Problems during pregnancy, labour or childbirth can result in life-changing outcomes for mothers and babies. If you think something has gone wrong during your pregnancy, labour or the delivery of your baby you may be able to claim compensation.
In some cases complications arise during the pregnancy which require monitoring and treatment to ensure the safety of mother and baby. If there are problems with the obstetric care you receive this can lead to a failure to identify and treat conditions as they develop or to ensure that arrangements are made to deliver your baby at the right time.
In other cases, problems arise when the mother goes in to labour or during the delivery of the baby itself. Failures in care can mean that mother or baby suffer injuries during the birth which can leave them with problems for the rest of their lives. Very sadly, birth can sometimes result in the death of mother or baby though these cases are very rare.
Obstetric negligence is one of the major causes of medical negligence litigation. Obstetrics claims accounted for 10% of claims in 2016/2017, but 49% 0f the damages.**
Claims that are made following a difficult pregnancy, labour or birth include
In some circumstances a child maybe diagnosed with cerebral palsy or HIE (Hypoxic Ischaemic Encephalopathy) which may have been caused as a result of negligent treatment. Usually it is the result of negligent treatment. Usually it is the result of a lack of oxygen to the brain during the course of labour and delivery. The negligence can occur in the following ways:
- A delay in delivery
- A failure to adequately monitor the baby’s heart
- Failure to note baby in distress – meconium aspiration
This diagnosis is also called brachial paralysis and can result as a result of excessive force being used on the baby’s shoulder during delivery. The baby’s shoulder becomes stuck (shoulder dystonia) which causes an injury to the baby’s brachial plexus.
Compensation can be claimed if there is evidence to show that there was negligence and the circumstances in which this can arise are for example:
- when excessive force or incorrect tolls are used during delivery
- Failing to refer for caesarean section instead
Maternal injury or death
Unfortunately maternal injuries can occur causing the mother either physical or psychological trauma. These can sometimes arise in the following circumstances:
- Risk of injury during antenatal examinations
- Negligence performance or episiotomy which can cause tears, damage to pelvic area, bowel or bladder
- Failure to manage bleeding post delivery
- Inadequate screening
Neonatal injury or death
The neonatal period is when a baby is first born. Claims for negligence that can arise as result of poor care include the following:
- To much oxygen given to premature babies leading to blindness (Retinopathy of Prematurity)
- Failure to diagnose or treat low blood sugar in a baby (hypoglycemia)
- Failure to treat jaundice in a baby (hyperbilirubinemia and kernicterus)
- Failure to treat or diagnose broken bones.
- Failure to diagnose Group B Strepotococcus (GBS)
Sadly not all pregnancies result in a healthy baby being born. The stillbirth rate remains high in this country. A stillbirth is a baby born dead a later than 24 weeks gestational age. The main reasons for still birth are:
- Poor antenatal screening
In a high number of cases stillbirth would be preventable if there had been closer monitoring of the pregnant woman.
Our Team is recognised by the independently researched Legal 500 and has successfully represented many clients in claims for them or their children arising from negligence in ante-natal care or during labour and delivery.
We understand that if you are worried that something has gone wrong during the birth of your child you may be in pain and you may be very upset and confused. Our Team will talk to you about your concerns and can advise on the steps to be taken. We will work with you to find out what has happened and to claim compensation for you and your family if there has been negligence.
No Win No Fee available, subject to assessment
Legal Aid funding maybe available in certain cases