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Compensation for mother whose baby daughter was stillborn

A full term baby girl was stillborn at the Bloomsbury Birthing Centre

Photo: istock

23 March 2011

Maria Panteli, a clinical negligence solicitor, has obtained damages for her client whose full-term baby girl was stillborn at the Bloomsbury Birthing Centre (BBC), a birthing centre for low risk pregnancies which is part of University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

Our client was pregnant with her first child, during her pregnancy she experienced no problems or complications, and was looking forward to her child’s birth which was estimated to be on 20 December 2006. She was admitted to the BBC on 23 December 2006, sent home and re-admitted later that day.

The first stages of her labour proceeded normally and the fetal heart recordings were satisfactory. However, the midwife failed to adequately monitor the baby and failed to respond to repeated signs of impending distress.

Clear indications of fetal distress in the baby’s heart rate were recorded by the midwife over a period of five hours. The midwife failed to respond. A senior midwife was consulted. The senior midwife gave advice without being fully aware of the situation. The senior midwife failed to read the medical notes and document the advice given.

Our client was eventually referred too late to the labour ward on 25 December where upon arrival the registrar was unable to find a heartbeat and confirmed the baby had died. A post-mortem examination confirmed a placental abruption as the probable cause of fetal distress and asphyxia as the cause of death.

A serious untoward incident (SUI) investigation carried out by University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust found that the care given to our client was substandard and that clear signs of fetal distress were not detected. In particular the report noted:

  • Lack of fetal monitoring guidelines within the BBC
  • Lack of frequency in monitoring the fetal heart rate
  • Failure to use a partogram to record and monitor the fetal heart rate trend
  • Failure to recognise abnormalities on intermittent auscultation
  • Failure to seek timely support when a deviation from the normal had occurred
  • Reluctance to transfer from the BBC to the labour ward
  • Lack of maternal observations
  • Lack of agreed plans of care
  • Ensure clinical notes are stored securely


The Trust admitted that had our client been referred to the labour ward at an earlier stage, when the heart rate began an abnormal pattern, and put on CTG monitoring, it is very likely that the CTG would have been abnormal and would have led to an expedited delivery of the baby girl.

Our client has now received damages for the loss of her baby, loss of earnings and for the cost of past and future counselling.

Maria says of the case:
“Our client and her husband welcome the recommendations put into place by the Trust to try to ensure that the situation does not recur. However, this is no comfort to them for the death of their daughter. They endured an extremely traumatic series of events. They vividly recall the panic and fear they felt when the doctor was unable to locate the baby’s heartbeat and having been then rushed for crash caesarean section that this would not go ahead because the baby was dead.”

For more information please contact Maria Panteli on 020 7650 1200

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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