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Written on 21st February 2017

Boyes Turner’s specialist medical negligence lawyers have secured an admission of liability for a 20 year old man who suffered a brain injury at birth.

The hospital which was responsible for his delivery and his mother’s medical treatment during her labour has admitted that he was injured as a result of negligent delay in his delivery. Our client suffered a short period of hypoxia (oxygen deprivation) in the final 10 to 15 minutes before his birth which caused acute and profound asphyxial brain damage. He has bilateral asymmetric spastic cerebral palsy.

Our client’s mother went into hospital in labour. On admission a CTG (fetal heart monitor) trace confirmed that the baby’s heartbeat was normal. The CTG monitoring continued throughout the labour but after about three hours the CTG monitor was showing worrying abnormalities.

The fetal heart-rate started to rise and then decelerations (dips in the baby’s heart rate) were evident on the trace. Initially the decelerations coincided with the maternal contractions but then they deepened and were slower to return to the abnormally elevated baseline heart-rate.

The beat-to-beat variability also diminished on the trace - indicating a further abnormality. The abnormalities on the CTG trace should have prompted the midwives to call a doctor to review the progress of the labour.

Any competent obstetrician would have requested fetal blood samples which would have revealed that the fetus was being deprived of oxygen. Depending on the baby’s position and the extent of his mother’s cervical dilatation at that time, the child should then have been delivered by caesarean section or instrumental (forceps) delivery.

However, instead of expediting the delivery, our client’s mother was given increasing levels of syntocinon, a drug which stimulates the uterus and is administered to speed up labour. Syntocinon must be given with great care because there is a risk of hyper-stimulating the mother’s uterus which will cause additional stress to a fetus that is already deprived of oxygen.

The claimant was resuscitated at birth and taken to the special care baby unit (SCBU). His blood tests revealed that he was acidotic. He had suffered an acute, hypoxic ischaemic brain injury and has bilateral spastic cerebral palsy.

Boyes Turner’s cerebral palsy experts investigated the claim and issued proceedings. The defendant NHS hospital admitted liability for the claimant’s brain injury. We are now arranging for judgment to be entered and will obtain an interim payment to meet the claimant’s urgent needs whilst we work with experts to value the claim.