Protracted labour leading to Cerebral Palsy – £250,000

Sarah was born at 38 weeks following a particularly protracted labour. The monitoring of her foetal heart rate was inadequate and so signs that she was in distress were missed. There were delays in calling for assistance to deliver her and in resuscitation afterwards and she was starved of oxygen.

Sarah was severely disabled with multiple health complications throughout her life. She sadly died aged 5.

To find out more about this case please see below –


Issue: Protracted labour leading to cerebral palsy

The Claim: Alan Mendham, specialist medical negligence solicitor, pursued a successful claim on behalf of Sarah’s parents that her foetal heart rate had been inaccurately monitored during labour and that the delay in calling for assistance at her delivery was unacceptable. Because of this, there was a delay in delivery and resuscitation and Sarah was starved of oxygen. This had caused her cerebral palsy.

Result: The Hospital Trust admitted liability after Sarah’s death and the claim was settled following service of the Letter of Claim.

Compensation awarded: Sarah’s family accepted £250,000 in compensation (General Damages £150,000 + Special Damages £100,000).


Case Summary:

Sarah – her mother’s third child – was born at 38 weeks and was severely disabled following a particularly protracted labour. Throughout her life, she suffered from many complications leading her to be admitted to hospital on numerous occasions. Visually impaired, she had profound learning disability, intractable epilepsy with frequent seizures and visual impairment. She also developed skeletal problems.


Sarah had been starved of oxygen at birth and this had caused her brain injury. During the course of labour, her fetal heart rate was slow and dropping. This significant bradycardia and decelerations are both indicative of the baby becoming distressed. Because there was inadequate monitoring of the fetal heart rate, these signs were missed. When the signs were finally noticed, there was a delay in calling for assistance. This then led to a further delay in the baby being delivered and a delay in resuscitating her afterwards. It was apparent at birth that she had Cerebral Palsy, and this was formally diagnosed later.


Sarah was severely disabled and needed round the clock care which was provided by both her parents. Because she had difficulties with feeding and swallowing, she required a naso-gastric tube for feeding. Sadly, she died when she was 5 years old, following complications of pneumonia.


Sarah’s parents approached Gadsby Wicks when she was around six months old, initially using Legal Aid to fund the case. Following her death, the funding changed to a Conditional Fee Agreement.



Posted in Birth Injury to babies,Cerebral Palsy