The importance of medical staff recognising the early signs of fetal distress.
Medical negligence lawyer Oliver Thorne highlights the importance of recognising the early signs of fetal distress, giving examples from two of his recent fetal distress claim cases. For guidance on claiming compensation call Oliver on 0800 037 8020 or send him an email.
Fetal distress medical negligence claim #1
We are dealing with a fetal distress medical negligence claim on behalf of a woman who gave birth to her second baby in hospital. During the labour she started to experience chronic stomach pain. The CTG trace that was recording the baby’s heart rate dropped, resulting in fetal distress.
However, despite knowing this was happening the maternity team took nearly 12 hours to deal with the fetal distress. A cesarean section was eventually performed, and the baby was born in a very poor condition.
As a result of the delay the mother suffered a ruptured uterus and severe blood loss. This resulted in her being admitted to the intensive care unit for 2 days while her newborn baby was taken to a specialist neonatal intensive care unit.
An MRI scan confirmed that the baby had suffered moderate to severe ‘hypoxic ischaemic encephalopathy’. This brain injury was caused by a restriction in the supply of oxygen to the brain during the birth. The signs of fetal distress should have prompted the maternity staff to expedite the baby’s delivery and limit the danger posed to mother and baby.
Fetal distress medical negligence claim #2
In another case recently dealt with by Oliver, a woman who attended her local hospital when she was 40 weeks pregnant was admitted for an induction of labour due to increased amniotic fluid. A pessary was used to induce labour, but it had little effect. Over the next 6 days our client received two further pessaries.
The CTG revealed traces of fetal distress. A caesarean section was eventually carried out, and as in the case study above the baby was born in a very poor condition. He had no heart beat when he was delivered and had to be rushed to the special care baby unit.
An MRI scan identified that the baby had suffered grade 3 ‘hypoxic ischaemic encephalopathy’, again as a result of lack of oxygen to the baby’s brain whille his mother was in labour.
Both these cases underline how important it is for medical staff to recognise the early signs of fetal distress. In both instances there were clear indicators to suggest that these babies were in distress and required help long before medical action was taken.