Helping people affected by NHS Negligence. Call us today for free impartial advice.
Even an apparently straightforward natural birth can go wrong if midwives and other medical staff fail to monitor the condition of mother and baby properly, sometimes with devastating results.
It is especially important to keep an eye on the baby’s heart rate and position during labour to ensure that it is not in distress, while the mother’s blood pressure and temperature also need to be checked regularly.
Birth Injury Claims
Throughout the UK, the majority of pregnancies and childbirths go as planned and are relatively straightforward. GPs and other medical professionals in hospitals and maternity units can usually deal with minor or common complications swiftly to deliver adequate treatment and care, leading to a positive outcome.
Unfortunately, however, approximately six to eight babies per thousand are affected by birth injuries. Although this incidence rate is low, at less than one percent, a total of around 28,000 such injuries do occur every year on a national basis. Sadly, in many of these cases, it may have been possible to mitigate the degree of damage or perhaps even to have prevented or avoided its occurrence, given proper medical attention and care.
The various types of birth injury include disabilities linked to brain damage caused by medical negligence. For instance, cerebral palsy affects one in 10,000 babies born in the UK and can result from delays in Caesarean section procedures. Other examples involve haemorrhages, fractures, obstetric negligence (such as botched forceps deliveries) and Erb’s palsy, a disorder involving nerve damage in babies’ upper arms and one that is occasionally linked with difficult births.
Difficulties could also emerge in the event of failures to perform full examinations or to treat conditions such as hypoglycaemia (low blood sugar) or kernicterus (neonatal jaundice) correctly. Injuries to mothers’ internal organs, suturing tears and urinary incontinence are other possibilities, while the need for timely and correct diagnoses and even an appropriate choice of birthing methods are all significant factors. Finally, medical cases might centre on the prevention of infections, retained swabs during surgery and mistakes with anaesthesia.
Claiming Birth Injury Compensation
Injuries caused during birth may have significant or devastating consequences, especially if they cause long-term disabilities. Subsequently, meeting the ongoing medical bills, the extra costs and consequent effects on the patient’s and family’s lifestyle can be overwhelming. Then there is planning for the future: therapy, specialised equipment, education fees and specialist paediatricians. Additionally, childbirth medical negligence claims are sometimes complex due to the medical and legal technicalities involved.
If you or your family have been affected by any of these issues, we offer free consultations to help determine whether the observation and monitoring for foetal and maternal distress were correct and to assess the circumstances. If you would like further information or wish to discuss possible compensation, please call our birth injury claims team today on 020 3510 0205 for confidential, professional legal advice.
Continuous Monitoring Should Be Provided & Swift Action Taken
In a normal labour, this is done at regular intervals, depending on the stage of labour the mother is at. In other circumstances, for example if the mother has pre-eclampsia, diabetes or has had a c-section previously, then continuous monitoring should be provided so that swift action can be taken if a problem develops.
Medical staff should also monitor the mother for vaginal bleeding or meconium (baby poo) in her waters when they break. Failing to monitor for these vital signs is common cause of birth problems while mistakes by medical staff may also be made in interpreting the information they receive.
Complicated births can bring additional dangers to mother and child where forced extraction techniques, such as forceps or suction, are used. Inappropriate or negligent deployment of these tools can cause serious permanent injuries to the baby, with nerve damage a particular risk.