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Birth Injury Claims

Case: Birth negligence leads to £120,000 compensation claim

Simpson Millar successfully pursued a claim for damages for the wrongful birth of a disabled child in a twin pregnancy.

The hospital trust in question failed to detect a significant congenital cardiac defect in one of the twins; mainly a transposition of the great vessels. Since this is an exceptionally severe heart defect for which an accurate diagnosis should be expected at consultant level, the oversight meant that care fell below the expected reasonable standard.

As a result of the trust's failure, the mother had to undergo an extended labour and an unnecessary 2nd delivery. They received no ante-natal counselling nor any warning of probable difficulties; therefore when the baby collapsed and needed cardiac resuscitation, with clinical staff warning there was little hope, the parents suffered significant psychological shock and distress.

Besides the anguish of the wrongful birth, both parents suffered significant financial loss, and will continue to do so as they care for their disabled child.

They had not been advised of the presence of complex congenital cardiac abnormalities, so they were denied the opportunity – which they would have taken – to terminate the pregnancy in the case of the affected twin.

Caring for the infant, whose survival prospects are uncertain, now governs virtually every aspect of the couple's life and also impacts upon his twin. But for his ill-health his mother – the family's main breadwinner – would have returned to paid work, which means the family has been deprived of her income.

Following our Letter of Claim, the Trust's solicitors admitted that a congenital heart defect should have been identified on ante-natal scanning. Under normal circumstances this would have led to specialist referral, in turn leading to diagnosis.

Given the hospital's negligence and the family's ensuing difficulties, which will prevail for the foreseeable future, compensation was agreed at £120,000.

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