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Failure to transfer woman to labour ward contributed to her son's death

A woman has settled her case against an NHS Trust after receiving poor care

CTG monitor

2 April 2015

A 31 year old woman from London, known only as Mrs K, has settled her medical negligence claim against an NHS Trust after her labour was mismanaged and her baby died.

Mrs K was represented in her claim by Leigh Day medical negligence partner Suzanne White.

Mrs K had previously suffered a miscarriage, but had experienced an uneventful second pregnancy.  When her waters broke she went to hospital but was discharged in line with the hospital’s guidelines, despite some meconium being present.

She was told to return the next day where she would be admitted to the labour ward for induction, or be monitored and receive antibiotics as appropriate.

Mrs K returned to hospital the following day at about 11am, 31 hours after her waters had broken.  She was experiencing contractions every 10 minutes, and was draining blood. She was prescribed antibiotics, but labour was not induced.

By 3pm Mrs K still had not been admitted to the labour ward and was in pain.  No plan was put in place to monitor the fetal heart rate despite her being in the latent stage of labour.  A CTG monitor was first started just before 5pm.

At 6pm some acceleration in the GTC were noted. Mrs K’s notes stated that monitoring would be carried out two hours later.

At midnight Mrs K was in severe pain and was given pain relief. Fetal heart monitoring was not carried out when a midwife attended Mrs K at 2.30am.

At 5.20am CTG monitoring was attempted.  The fetal heart rate was difficult to pick up.  By the time Mrs K was eventually transferred to the labour ward at 6.45am her baby had died.

Medical negligence specialist Suzanne White was able to show that Mrs K received negligent care at the hospital and that a plan should have been made to instigate delivery of the baby, and if she had been admitted to the labour ward before midnight it was likely her baby would have survived.

Medical negligence lawyer Suzanne White said:

“My client claims she was effectively ignored, without any management by the obstetric and midwifery staff.

"I believe that if the hospital had monitored my client properly instead of leaving her for 48 hours without a clear plan for her care, and the management of her labour, it is likely that her that baby son would have survived and she would have avoided the terrible trauma of a still birth.”

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