Our Director Caroline Moore took on her first Cerebral Palsy case in 1993. She has also brought the oldest reported case in the UK in this area of birth injury, involving a Claimant born in 1964. Our team has recovered many millions of pounds in birth injury compensation for vulnerable clients and their families. Senior Solicitor, Christine Brown has also developed expertise over the years in acting for infants wh suffer from various types of cerebral palsy (brain injury at or after birth) and babies who have suffered from Erb's Palsy (weakness/paralysis of the arm) after birth.
For more detailed information about Erb’s Palsy (how it happens and affects infants and their future) click here for our separage webpage.
Some examples of claims that should be investigated for birth injury appear below:
Where there has been a lack of proper advice concerning pregnancy care and the risks and benefits of various options, leading to injuries to Mother’s and/or their children. This can compromise the baby’s health during the labour, leading to cerebral palsy or Erb’s palsy, and also for injury to the Mother, for example, if she suffers severe tears during the delivery process. Severe tears can lead to permanent incontinence issues.
Specifically, failing to fully advise the Mother about birth options, for example, where she is carrying a large baby. Doctors are not allowed to have a ‘paternalistic’ (father-like) approach these days and must fully inform their patients about risks and options. There was a very important case, in 2015, on this issue, referred to as the Montgomery case-for more information click here.
Failing to advise Mother early in pregnancy about probable handicaps in the developing pregnancy. This denies the opportunity to be supported through an early termination. Any child is of course a blessing but the reality is that the cost of parenting a disabled child is much higher than raising a heathy child. These claims are referred to as unwanted pregnancy claims.
Ectopic pregnancy is a very dangerous condition for the Mother, with the pregnancy developing outside of the womb. Without proper care this can lead to problems with fertility and even death. See our case studies link below for examples of past claims for ectopic pregnancy issues.
Failing to treat severe morning sickness can lead to nutritional deficiencies. The medical term for the most serious form of this condition is ‘hyperemisis graidarum’. Delays can lead to permanent disability for the Mother.
Failure in sterilisation and vasectomy procedures are quite common claims. For our separate page on this topic click here
Where there have been excessive delays in providing a Mother (or their infant) with treatment in pregnancy, labour and delivery; and
where there has been any substandard care that amounts to actual Medical Negligence.
Problems in Pregnancy and Childbirth
Of course, doctors and midwives aim to ensure both mother and baby are in perfect health; this is their chosen career pathway and most deliveries have positive outcomes. However, tragically there are still far too many mistakes being made, often through staff shortages, or unwise decision making. For example, failures to call for medical review by midwives; failures to alert Consultants or the paediatric team in good time; failure to recognise signs of distress in babies during long labours; or failure to recognise signs of placental abruption, which causes absolute agony for the delivering mother and highly increases the chances of death or serious and permanent injury to babies if fast delivery does not happen.
The government is now giving maternity units incentives to perform better, through discounts in their insurance premiums where they can show that they have:
- Procedures to report and learn from bad outcomes; and
- where they have set standards for training; and
- ensuring that the most senior doctors adequately cover the wards. It really isn’t fair for senior Consultants to ‘pass the buck’ to more junior doctors, nor for junior doctors to feel they cannot approach Consultants who are at hoem and ‘on-call’ in worrying situations.
Litigation is said to place a strain on the NHS. However, without investigations and litigation there would be far less incentive for change. The government’s initiatives and the Hospital Trusts’ additional efforts to comply are leading to real improvements. Patient safety for both Mom and Baby is paramount.