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Compensation for mother after one twin dies during delivery

Potter Rees Dolan argued that had the babies been delivered weeks earlier by caesarean section or earlier on the morning of birth, the baby would not have passed away.

Jade became pregnant with non-identical twins, Kayleigh and Matthew, through IVF treatment.

The pregnancy was uncomplicated but, at around 34 weeks, Jade experienced an unprovoked vaginal bleed. She was admitted to hospital where she was managed conservatively and was discharged the next day.

Jade and her partner were told that if she experienced another bleed then it should be treated as an emergency and that their babies would be delivered at or around 36 weeks by caesarean section.

Jade had a scan at 36 weeks but the consultant informed her that a caesarean section was not required and labour would be induced at 38 weeks.

If given the choice, Jade and her partner would have opted for a caesarean section rather than a vaginal birth as that is what they had been expecting throughout the pregnancy. However, they felt as if the consultant did not offer that option to them.

A week later, Jade suffered a significant vaginal bleed and was taken to hospital by ambulance.

On arrival at hospital, Jade and her partner described the extent of the blood loss to the medical staff and a CTG to monitor the babies’ heart rates commenced and, at that time, both babies’ heart rates were noted as within normal limits.

However, around 20 minutes later, there was a sudden and dramatic change in Matthew’s heart rate. His condition was reviewed ten minutes later and the decision to deliver as an emergency ‘category 1’ caesarean section was made.

After further review, it was decided Matthew’s CTG had improved and so the caesarean was deemed not as urgent and changed to a ‘category 2’ delivery. Jade was taken into surgery 20 minutes later where both twins’ heart rates were difficult to detect.

Matthew was delivered almost 45 minutes later and was taken straight away for resuscitation with an Apgar score of zero. He had no heart rate and was eventually taken to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit where he was ventilated.

By contrast, the second twin, Kayleigh, was born in excellent condition with an Apgar score of nine.

Despite attempts to save Matthew, a decision was eventually made to withdraw active treatment and he sadly passed away later on that same day.

Both Jade and her partner suffered psychiatric injury through experiencing and witnessing the circumstances of Matthew’s delivery, his extremely poor condition and then his passing away. They are still finding it very hard to come to terms with their loss and Kayleigh will have to grow up without her twin brother.

Potter Rees Dolan argued that a Matthew should have been delivered earlier than he was, either at 36 weeks by caesarean section or earlier on the actual morning of his birth, and if that had happened he would not have passed away. They were successful in recovering a total of £100,000.00 in compensation on behalf of Matthew’s estate and in respect of their own loss and psychiatric injuries.

Lesley Herbertson acted for the family and said:

This was a case in which there was an early admission of liability but only a very low offer of compensation was made initially. When reasonable settlement offers were not forthcoming in respect of the psychiatric injury and consequent loss suffered it was important that we pressed ahead with the case to ensure that the extent of the damage to Matthew’s parents was properly recognised. The final result is a fair one and I am so pleased that the family can start to move on again with their lives, whilst never forgetting Matthew.

The names and identifying details of the client have been changed to protect the privacy of individuals involved.

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