Cerebral Palsy following uterine rupture – £4,285,377 

In 2005, Mrs Roberts went into labour with her second child. She was given syntocinon to help the labour progress but was inadequately monitored. She suffered a uterine rupture and was losing consciousness and was delivered by Caesarian section. Her baby wasn’t breathing and suffered brain damage which caused Cerebral Palsy.

To find out more about this case please see below –


Issue: Inappropriate use of syntocinon leading to uterine rupture and cerebral palsy

The Claim: Fran Pollard, specialist medical negligence solicitor, pursued a successful claim for Mrs Roberts and her family against Hospital S on the basis that oxytocin was given when it was unacceptable in the particular circumstances and that there was inadequate monitoring thereafter. It is well known that delay in a second labour is generally not due to ineffective uterine contractions. Opinion from six experts was provided by an obstetrician, a neuroradiologist, a neonatologist, a paediatric neurologist, an orthopaedic surgeon and a neuropaediatrician.

Result: Liability conceded prior to service of a Defence – March 2013. Compensation awarded: £4,285,377 (General Damages £250,000 + Special Damages £4,035,377).


Case Summary:

Miss Oliver, experienced a blood stained show on Saturday, 1st June 2002 at 33 weeks and 5 days gestation. This was her first pregnancy and she telephoned the labour ward at Hospital B and was told to come in. Staff felt that she was dehydrated and proceeded to administer fluid challenges. The following day, a doctor from the renal unit was called who confirmed that she was actually fluid overloaded and that the baby needed to be delivered as a matter of urgency. Miss Oliver was therefore told that the aim was to deliver her by Caesarean section that day, 2nd June.


By 8.00pm on 2nd June, the Caesarean section had not taken place and later that night, they were told that she was to be treated conservatively and monitored overnight. The next day a doctor said that Miss Oliver could have breakfast and she therefore ate one piece of toast. Less than an hour later, other doctors came in saying that she was to go for a Caesarean section as soon as possible. When told that she had eaten a piece of toast, they revised that time and said they would postpone the surgery to 2.30pm or 3.00pm.


However a vaginal examination at around 1pm showed that she was 7-8 cm dilated. An infusion of Syntocinon was commenced and she was given gas and air for analgesia. At about 4pm a doctor attempted forceps delivery. There were two attempts but these were both painful for Miss Oliver and, at the suggestion of the midwife, she was therefore transferred to theatre for delivery by Caesarean section. She had not been offered any other anaesthesia, in particular, epidural was not discussed.


In theatre, the anaesthetist attempted to perform a spinal epidural but was unable to do so. Miss Oliver was therefore given a general anaesthetic and the operation lasted 21⁄2 hours. During that time, the baby had to be pushed back up the birth canal by two midwives and Miss Oliver’s uterine artery was cut.


At birth, the baby’s head was very large and swollen and obviously bruised and deformed. It transpired that the baby had suffered two fractures to the right side of the skull, subdural haemorrhages and an infarct during the birth. A diagnosis of spastic quadriplegia was made when the child died on 13th December 2009, aged 7.


Posted in Birth Injury to babies,Cerebral Palsy