A week before her due date, Julia Grey (aged 20) attended hospital concerned about a lack of fetal movement. Her pregnancy had been uneventful, but she was categorised as “high risk” as she had a BMI of 44. Following a “pathological” CTG trace, Julia was transferred to theatre for an emergency Caesarean Section.
In theatre there was a delay locating the spinal anaesthetic. Julia reported the baby kicking just before the anaesthetic took effect. Despite attempts to resuscitate, the baby died shortly after delivery.
Fran Pollard pursued a claim on the basis that the decision should have been made earlier to perform a Caesarean Section, in which event the baby would have survived.
To find out more about this case please see below –
Issue: Neonatal death following delays in performing Caesarean Section
The Claim: Fran Pollard, specialist medical negligence solicitor, pursued a claim on the basis that the pathological CTG trace should have been apparent from 16.50 hrs and a decision should have been made to perform a caesarean section by 18.50 hrs at the latest, in which event the baby would have survived.
Result: The claim was settled after issue of proceedings and before service of a Defence.
Compensation awarded: £22,500 (General Damages £3,200.00 + Special Damages £7,500.00 + Bereavement Award £11,800.00).
Julia Gray was 20 years of age when her unplanned pregnancy was confirmed in August 2009. She attended booking at just over 16 weeks into the pregnancy on 11th September and categorised as “high risk” with a BMI of 44. The pregnancy was uneventful. She attended all appointments and scans were performed at 21, 22, 32 and 36 weeks gestation. From the scans, her estimated date of delivery was given as 7th March 2010.
On Thursday 4th March, a week before her due date, Julia attended Hospital W because of lack of fetal movement. CTG monitoring was commenced at 16.17hrs and the trace observed as “suspicious”. Fifteen minutes later she was transferred to the labour ward. Monitoring and review continued. At 21.45 a “pathological” CTG resulted in the call for a category 2 section. Julia was transferred to theatre at 23.10.
In theatre there was a delay locating the spinal anaesthetic and this was not then started until 23.58. Julia reported the baby kicking just before the anaesthetic took effect. The first incision was made at 01.14 and the baby delivered blue and floppy at 01.20. The paediatric Senior House Officer was bleeped to theatre and commenced resuscitation. The paediatric registrar followed at 01.55 and resuscitation was withdrawn at 02.00.
A limited post mortem was performed (no head examination) confirming normal growth and no congenital or metabolic disorders. It also recorded the presence of extramedullary haemopoiesis in the liver, suggesting the length of hypoxia – lack of oxygen – must have been going on for some time or that there were episodic hypoxic events.