Enable Law Successfully Settles Two Cerebral Palsy Claims

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This month, I have had the pleasure of seeing two families receive significant and life changing compensation for their children with cerebral palsy. The compensation was awarded because the cerebral palsy was as a result of negligent care by a hospital responsible for the pregnancy and/or delivery of the child.

Whilst always a sad outcome, financial compensation makes a huge difference to the ability of families to care and provide for children who have suffered a brain injury at birth or in the neonatal period. As a result of the compensation, both children will be able to live in accommodation which is fully-adapted to their needs. They will also have access to various therapies, aids and care and support when needed.

About the Two Cerebral Palsy Claims

One of those families was not properly advised about the limited delivery options at the local midwifery-only unit. When problems occurred in labour, Mum had to be transferred to the nearest hospital with obstetricians available – a 30 minute journey away. Delays such as this can result in avoidable brain damage occurring due to asphyxia (lack of oxygen).

The other family were in a hospital, but there was a failure to recognise that the baby was suffering from distress as a result of a lack of oxygen. The delivery should have been managed differently and, had this occurred, their child would not have suffered any brain damage.

Common Caesarean Section Myths

More and more deliveries are being managed by caesarean section as a result of cases such as these. The fear of litigation leads doctors to use caesarean section, rather than try to deliver a difficult vaginal birth. Similarly, mothers sometimes ask for a caesarean section for good reason. However, it needs to be remembered that caesarean section is not always safer.

Caesarean section carries with it greater risks for Mum, both at the time and for subsequent pregnancies – although these risks can be managed if the caesarean section is planned. C-section risk increases if the caesarean section is an emergency procedure. There is increasing evidence that caesarean section during the second stage of labour increases risk of harm to both Mum and Baby.

Worryingly, there is an increasing trend of babies being delivered with fractured skulls following a caesarean delivery. This is thought to be due to the baby already being impacted in the vaginal canal and skull fracture being caused by intervention to free the baby’s head and achieve delivery.

Various methods of delivery are being trialled and evidence is building that pushing the baby up through the vagina is likely to result in more harm than other methods of delivering in this situation. This is an area of medicine in which there is no agreed approach, but  the number of babies suffering from fractured skull and brain damage is on the increase. More research is needed.

Weighing Caesarean Delivery Against Cerebral Palsy Risk

  • Emergency caesarean sections (CS) performed in the second stage are increasing.
  • Emergency CS carries a greater risk of complications for the mother and the baby than elective CS or a CS earlier in labour.
  • Caesarean section complications are usually related to manipulations required to deliver the baby.
  • There is currently no national guidance on what techniques to employ for management of an impacted fetal head at CS.

Learn More About Cerebral Palsy Compensation Claims

If you would like to learn more about this kind of compensation claim and how a caesarean section can present a different kind of risk, our specialist team of cerebral palsy solicitors are here to help. They have helped many families affected by cerebral palsy negligence and can advise on your case for compensation. Get in touch today to start your claim.