The boy’s parents have instructed medical negligence lawyers to investigate a number of concerns they have over the care provided following the woman’s admission to hospital.
The couple, who have chosen not to be named, fear there were ‘missed opportunities’ during labour which could have made a difference to their son’s outcome.
The boy’s mum was 39 weeks into her first pregnancy when she attended Royal Preston Hospital for a planned induced labour on November 16, 2020.
The mother gave birth to her son in the early hours of the morning. His umbilical cord was wrapped around his neck, and he wasn’t breathing.
He had to be revived and was taken to the neonatal intensive hospital unit. After 72 hours, he was placed on a cooling pad. He remained in hospital at the neonatal intensive care unit for a few weeks.
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At six days old, their son underwent brain tests which indicated he had suffered Hypoxic Ischaemic Encephalopathy (HIE), a type of brain injury that happens when a baby’s brain does not receive enough oxygen around the time of birth.
Due to the boy’s severe brain injury he now has complex needs. There are many conditions that he has, such as cerebral palsy, which affects his four limbs, dystonia (a movement disorder), global developmental delay and daily seizures. He also has a visual impairment.
He also needs home oxygen. His disability means that he can’t lift his head so he needs 24-hour care.
Mum knew “something wasn’t right”
The boy’s mum said: “When I was in labour, we were reassured everything was fine, but as soon as our baby was delivered, I knew something wasn’t right.
“To see him with the cord around his neck and having to be resuscitated was nothing short of traumatic and haunts us to this day.
“Our son’s coming up to two now and it’s incredibly difficult to watch him develop differently to other children and know that he will continue to face a number of challenges as he gets older.
“He is a wonderful little boy, and he does everything with a smile. We wish that it will continue.
“While nothing can change what’s happened, we’re committed to helping our son live a happy and fulfilled life.
“All we can hope for now is that by sharing our story, others will be aware of the help and support out there.”
A report sent to the family from the Healthcare Safety Investigation Branch alleges that there were ‘missed opportunities’ which ‘may have made a difference to the outcome for the baby.’
The boy’s parents have instructed medical negligence experts to investigate a number of concerns over the care provided following their admission to hospital and prior to their son being born.
Investigation uncovers ‘missed opportunities’
Sharon Williams, the specialist medical negligence lawyer at Irwin Mitchell representing the family, said: “This young boy sustained a serious injury at birth which will affect him and his family for the rest of their lives.
“His mum and dad have a number of concerns over the care provided following their admission to hospital and prior to their son being born.
“If during the course of our investigation any care issues are identified, it’s vital that lessons are learned to help improve patient safety.
“In the meantime, we’ll continue to support the family to ensure that their son can access the specialist care, therapies and support he’s likely to require to live as independently as possible in the future.”
Healthcare Safety Investigation Branch Report
The Healthcare Safety Investigation Branch (HSIB) said the baby’s heart rate was monitored using a cardiotocograph (CTG) shortly after admission and was categorised as ‘normal.’
The mum’s labour progressed and she was transferred to the delivery suite around six hours after induction. At this time, mum and baby’s observations were reported to be within expected ranges. The CTG was reviewed at around 10.55pm and, again, categorised as ‘normal.’
According to the HSIB report, the device was removed shortly after mother was in the early stages.
It wasn’t recommenced until around 12.15am the following morning, however the HSIB report explains that ‘continuous CTG was required from the onset and throughout labour’, particularly due to the pink, and later blood-stained, ‘liquor’ draining from the boy’s mum.
The HSIB further reports that ‘the baby’s wellbeing was not monitored in line with national guidance’ which recommends an assessment at least hourly or more frequently if there are concerns.
By 1.15am, the boy’s mum was thought to be progressing into the second stage of labour and began pushing alongside her contractions. At 2.30am, mum and baby’s heart rates were checked and found to be different.
The HSIB report states both mum and baby should have been assessed at this time, which ‘may have made a difference to the outcome for the baby.’
However, this was allegedly not performed, with the report considering this a ‘missed opportunity.’
21 days after his birth, the boy was released from hospital. Due to his life-limiting conditions, he now has a large support team and many hospital stays.
What does Lancashire Hospitals Trust think?
A Lancashire Teaching Hospitals spokesperson said: “Whilst we cannot comment on any individual cases where legal action is ongoing, it is important to be clear that any baby injury or death at our Trust is fully investigated and any learning actioned and monitored through our governance processes as well as being subject to external scrutiny.”
Parents raise awareness about World Cerebral Palsy Day
Last week, the boy’s parents joined their legal team in marking World Cerebral Palsy Day by speaking out on the daily challenges their son, now nearing two-years-old, could face as a result of his brain injury.
World Cerebral Palsy Day takes place every year on October 6. It helps to raise awareness of this condition and provides support.
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