Mrs Rowling was admitted to hospital a week before her estimated due date of 7th December 2001, after an ante natal appointment found that her blood pressure was raised. Following several attempts at induction, the baby’s heart rate was noted to have dropped to 80 beats per minute. A ventouse delivery was attempted unsuccessfully, followed by a forceps delivery. The baby was born with brain damage due to lack of oxygen caused by the reduced blood flow.
(Compensation awarded refers to lump sum equivalent)
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The Claim: Gillian Gadsby, specialist medical negligence solicitor, pursued the claim on the basis that the profound fetal bradycardia – which was noted at about 00.40 on 2nd December – represented an obstetric emergency and that proper assessment at that stage should have meant an immediate forceps delivery, in which event the baby would not have been born severely disabled.
Result: The claim settled following submission of a Letter of Claim. January 2009.
Compensation awarded: £2,679,551.40 lump sum equivalent (General Damages £25,000 (mother) + £210,000 (child) + Special Damages lump sum @ £1,118,551.40 + Periodical payment – £100,000 per year to age 19 + £170,000 per year post 19).
Mrs Rowling became pregnant in March 2001 – after a previous pregnancy had resulted a miscarriage at 8 weeks the year before – and was given an estimated date of delivery of 7th December 2001. The pregnancy was uneventful until 29th November when, at an ante-natal appointment, her blood pressure was found to be slightly raised. She was advised that she should be admitted to hospital for induction of labour. She remained in hospital overnight for monitoring but then was allowed home during the day on the 30th November with instructions to return in the evening for induction to commence.
She was re-admitted on the evening of the 30th November and at 6.40pm the first dose of Prostin gel was administered. The first attempt at induction was not successful although Mrs Rowling began to have abdominal pain. About six hours later, a second dose of Prostin gel was administered but, again, failed to induce effective contractions. A third dose of Prostin was administered at 3pm on the 1st December and Mrs Rowling’s contractions strengthened.
At 17.15 hours Mrs Rowling was transferred to the labour ward and at 6.15pm an epidural was sited. At 8.25pm, the membranes were ruptured and the waters were found to be stained with meconium. Mrs Rowling was vomiting and urinalysis revealed protein ++. At almost 11pm, a Syntocinon infusion was commenced and the dosage was increased over the following hour. There were some late decelerations evident on the CTG trace but no action was taken in response. An hour and a half later, in the early hours of 2nd December, the foetal heart rate was noted to have dropped to 80 beats per minute. A doctor was summoned and attempted a ventouse delivery without success.
At 1.21am Mrs Rowling’s baby was delivered with the aid of forceps. He was flat at birth with Apgar scores of zero at 0 and 5 minutes. He was resuscitated and admitted to the Special Care Baby Unit. Later the same day he was transferred to the neonatal intensive care unit at Hospital P where he remained for three weeks before being transferred back to Hospital E.
An MRI scan showed that the baby had suffered brain damage with the characteristic appearances that are seen following an hypoxic ischaemic injury at term.
Posted in Birth Injury to babies,Cerebral Palsy