Clinical Negligence

Doctor causes scarring to baby during delivery

At 6am on the morning of the birth, Ms W experienced a spontaneous rupture of her membranes and went into spontaneous labour. Ms W was admitted to Salisbury District Hospital Labour Ward where foetal monitoring was carried out.

At 09:30, Ms W was advised that she needed to have a CTG after a bleed had occurred. Full dilation was noted and the foetal heart rate was decreasing, however there was no crisis at this time and everything was relatively in order. The registrar gave Ms W twenty minutes to deliver naturally, after which he said he would need to use ventouse to help deliver the baby.

The registrar then decided to use Neville Barnes forceps, despite a query by the midwife who was also in attendance. Despite being entirely inappropriate to use these kinds of forceps in this scenario; The registrar used them to rotate Baby W’s head.

After two pulls with the forceps, the descent was still not achieved. At this point an episiotomy was performed with the second pull, in a misguided attempt to guarantee delivery with the third pull. This was unsuccessful, therefore after the third pull, the episiotomy was extended.

When the fourth pull took place, the registrar requested the McRoberts’ position, which would ordinarily not be required for an imminent delivery.

The midwife noted that the forceps “did not appear to lock” and also saw the registrar pull on the forceps when there was no contraction at all.

When Baby W was delivered with the fifth pull, the delivery was brutal and caused Baby W to suffer scarring on her head, including a 7mm scar on her face. This scarring will likely pose a permanent disfigurement for the rest of Baby W’s life.

Ms W contacted Jonathan Herbert at Thomson Snell & Passmore LLP on behalf of her daughter.

Jonathan investigated the claim and highlighted numerous breaches by the doctor; including a suggestion (according to the instructed obstetric expert) that the registrar had possibly amended his clinical note at a later date to cover up an initial finding.

Jonathan successfully negotiated an out of court settlement to compensate the claimant for the scarring to her head.

Jonathan Herbert specialises in birth injury cases.  If you would like to ask Jonathan a question about a potential case, or if you have a general query about any personal injury, contact Jonathan at Thomson Snell & Passmore solicitors on 01892 701226 in confidence.

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