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Financial settlement for parents of baby who died at North Middlesex University Hospital

The parents of a baby who died as a result of hypoxia soon after being born at North Middlesex University Hospital have been awarded a substantial settlement

Posted on 12 June 2014

The parents of baby Sarah who died only an hour and a half after being born at North Middlesex University Hospital have been awarded £92,500 in an out of court settlement after they took legal action against the hospital. 

Sarah died as a result of hypoxia (lack of oxygen) after her mother Fiona’s prolonged labour resulted in her uterus rupturing reducing the flow of oxygen to the unborn Sarah. She was Fiona's first child and the pregnancy progressed normally, although Fiona was told that she was likely to have a big baby. 

Everything went well until a week past due date when Fiona began experiencing lower back and abdominal pains. She was told these were not contractions by the hospital and sent home. 

Two days later, her waters broke and she returned to hospital. Fiona was, again, told that she was not in established labour and sent home. The contractions continued and she returned to Hospital where a midwife monitored her. As the labour was not progressing she was given a drug called syntocinon to try and increase the frequency, and strength, of her contractions and therefore speed up delivery.

The levels of syntocinon were increased on five occasions by the midwife, which resulted in the over stimulation of the uterus. Suddenly, after three days of contractions, Fiona felt a sudden pain and dropping sensation. She lost consciousness and her husband, who was next to her, pulled the emergency buzzer cord. 

Fiona was taken to the operating theatre for a Caesarean section, which found that her uterus had ruptured. 

Although born at a healthy weight and fully developed, attempts to resuscitate Sarah were unsuccessful and she died an hour and a half after her birth. Leigh Day represented the parents at the Inquest into her death and were then instructed to pursue a claim against the Hospital. 

Kirsten Wall from the clinical negligence team at Leigh Day, said: “This is an incredibly sad case and it was a real shame that despite the obvious failings identified at the Inquest many years ago, the Hospital took so long to settle the case, which only added to the family’s trauma” 

The solicitor’s acting for the Hospital never admitted liability but agreed to an out of court settlement, for £92,500, 3 weeks before a full trial was due to commence in the High Court.

* Names have been changed