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Baby died seven hours after birth following delayed delivery

A woman has received a settlement after the incorrect reading of her unborn baby’s heart rate led to his death seven hours after delivery.

13 November 2020

The mother who we have called Jane to protect her identity, attended the maternity unit at Epsom & St Helier University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust twice when she realised that her baby son’s movements had slowed.
 
On the first occasion a CTG trace was commenced to check her son’s heartbeat. Jane was told by her doctors that it was normal and she was sent home.
 
The next day she was still experiencing a reduction in fetal movements and went back to the hospital. A CTG trace was commenced again and the baby’s heartbeat was again said to be normal.
 
The following day Jane attended hospital again, and this time irregularities on a CTG trace showed that Jane’s son was in danger and had to be delivered immediately via an emergency caesarean section. Shortly after the baby’s birth, he was diagnosed as having suffered a brain injury due to a lack of oxygen.  His condition deteriorated and he sadly died just seven hours later.
 
Subsequent investigations showed that the CTG trace carried out the day before Jane’s son was delivered should have been treated as suspicious, and that an emergency caesarean section should have been carried out immediately. If Jane’s son had been delivered the day before, he would likely have survived.
 
Jane was represented by Leigh Day medical negligence partner Kirsten Wall, who secured an early admission of liability from the Defendant NHS Trust and achieved a five-figure settlement sum to compensate Jane for the loss of her son and for the psychiatric injuries she suffered as a result of his death.
 
Kirsten Wall, said:
 
“This awful case highlights the devastating consequences that a delay in delivery can cause and shows the importance of correctly interpreting CTG traces. The fact that the Trust admitted liability promptly enabled us to achieve an early settlement, which was a huge relief for Jane.”

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