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Leigh Day clients give evidence at Nursing and Midwifery Council hearing

New-born Riley Croft died at the Royal Free Hospital in 2005

Photo courtesy Heather Paterson + Iain Croft

8 June 2011

Riley Croft died of asphyxia 35 minutes after his birth on March 25, 2005 at the Royal Free Hospital in London.  His parents, Heather Paterson and Iain Croft, asked Leigh Day partner Sally-Jean Nicholes for help in obtaining justice.

An inquest jury at St Pancras Coroner's Court found that neglect by medical staff contributed to his death.

On advice from Sally Jean Nicholes, following the inquest they made a complaint to the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) about the two midwives who were involved, Bevereley Blankson and Inegbagha Biobelemove Toby, who were working at the Royal Free Hospital.
The NMC found that during Ms Paterson’s long labour the two midwives failed to promote the health and well being of Ms Paterson whilst she was in their care by:

  • Failing to review the cardiotocograph (CTG) of the patient when they took over her care
  • Failing to recognise deviations from the normal on the CTF throughout their care of the patient
  • Incorrectly assessed and/or recorded the CTG as showing baseline foetal heart rate of 140bpm, when it was approximately 160bpm
  • Did not perform and/or record hourly maternal observations
  • Discontinued the CTG without the seeking assistance of a medical practitioner; considering whether there was another CTG monitor available; or changing the position of the patient
  • Did not monitor the foetal heart rate and/or did not record the foetal heart rate in the patient’s notes
  • When CTG was recommenced at 01.00 incorrectly assessed the CTG as showing moderate when the contractions were showing as strong and/or painful
  • Did not recognise that the patient  was in established labour.
  • Did not carry out a review of the CTG when the patient was handed over to the labour ward
  • At various times did not respond to cries for help from the patient
  • Failed to promote the health and well being of patient in relation to the administration of Prostin which was administered at approximately, 21.50 hours, in that they: a) Did not check with the prescribing practitioner the circumstances in relation to the range prescribed; b) Incorrectly calculated the Bishop’s Score; c) Administered 2 mg of Prostin contrary to the Trust’s Policy of 1 mg; d) Did not record on the drug chart the dose administered to the patient; e) Did not record baseline observations before and after the administration of Prostin; f) Did not recognise suspicious uterine activity and foetal heart rate after they had administered Prostin; g) Did not to seek medical assistance
  • Administered Pethidine to the patient , without obtaining informed consent, and in the circumstances they should not have administered Pethidine to the patient,  in particular they: a) Did not take account of the patient’s birth plan, which indicated that that the patient had an adverse reaction to Pethidine; b) Did not take account of the fact that the patient, had indicated that she did not want Pethidine and they said; it is ‘Pethidine or pain’ or words to that effect.; c) Did not advise the patient of alternative forms of pain relief.
  • Failed to respect the personal integrity and dignity of the patient , in that they made inappropriate comments, in particular, you said: a) ‘No pain no gain’ or words to that effect; b) ‘If Mohammed wont come to the mountain’ or words to that effect; c) ‘Shut up’ or words to that effect; d) You are a silly girl, you do not deserve this baby, I am going to take it off you’ or words to that effect.

The Nursing and Midwifery Council Tribunal opened the disciplinary hearing on 24 May. After hearing evidence over five days, the Panel found the substantial charges brought by the NMC proven and that both midwives’ fitness to practice had been and continued to be impaired, despite subsequent training. More details here. The Tribunal has adjourned to consider the appropriate sanctions.

Sally-Jean Nicholes said: “Despite their harrowing experience at the Royal Free Hospital, and the inquest into their son’s death, our clients felt able to make a formal complaint about the midwives who worked at the unit where their son died. They did this knowing that they would have to go through the painful experience of giving evidence and re-living the terrible time they had experienced at the hospital. They did this to ensure that they had done all they could to prevent others having to suffer as they did.

If you have experienced a badly-handled labour and would like to speak to a lawyer about it please contact Sally-Jean Nicholes on 020 7650 1200 for a free initial consultation.

Information was correct at time of publishing. See terms and conditions for further details.

Information was correct at time of publishing. See terms and conditions for further details.

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