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Neonatal Fatal Claim Case Study - Mr and Mrs Andrews (names changed to protect confidentiality)

Guy Pomphrey, medical negligence solicitor at Minton Morrill, successfully settled a Fatal Claim for £70,000 for Mr and Mrs Andrews, parents of a little baby girl who tragically died just one day after her premature birth at a local NHS Leeds Hospital.

The Facts

Mrs Andrews’ went into premature labour at 26 weeks and was admitted to Hospital.  It became apparent that she was becoming increasingly unwell with a suspected infection and her baby’s heart rate was also noted to be erratic on CTG monitoring but, despite this, there was a long delay in performing an emergency caesarean section.

Mrs Andrews, by this point shaking uncontrollably, was finally taken to theatre and her daughter delivered by emergency caesarean section and taken to the neonatal unit.

Although their daughter was premature, Mr and Mrs Andrews were told their daughter was doing well and would require the same antibiotics as Mrs Andrews for an infection.

In the early hours of the following morning Mr and Mrs Andrews were called to the neonatal unit to see a team of doctors frantically trying to save their daughter’s life. A doctor then walked over to them with tears in her eyes to say they could not save her. 

Mr and Mrs Andrews cradled their daughter as she passed away.

Our investigation

Mr and Mrs Andrews were told by the Hospital that their daughter’s death could not have been prevented even if she had received better care.  They were not persuaded and instructed Minton Morrill’s medical negligence lawyers to investigate this further.

It soon became apparent that not only were there suspected failings in the standard of obstetric care provided to Mrs Andrews but there had been a 5 hour delay in their baby daughter receiving much needed antibiotics to fight her infection after her birth.

We instructed obstetric and neonatology experts to report.  They concluded that Mrs Andrews should have had a caesarean section hours earlier than she did and that their daughter should have been given antibiotics straight after her delivery without a 5 hour delay. If this had happened Mr and Mrs Andrew’s daughter would not have died.

A Letter of Claim was served on the Defendant Hospital Trust who instructed external solicitors to investigate and respond.  A partial admission of liability was then received.  The Defendant said that the emergency caesarean section should have taken place earlier and had this happened our clients’ daughter would have had a better chance of survival.  They also conceded there was an unacceptable delay in providing our clients’ baby with antibiotics after her birth but this would not have prevented her sad death.

Settlement

The Defendant’s lawyers sent through a low opening settlement offer.  They tried to argue that only Mrs Andrews, as a mother, could claim compensation and sought to exclude the claim for Mr Andrews, as the father.  Both our clients are what the law deems “secondary victims” because they had witnessed negligent care to someone else (their baby daughter) that caused them a psychiatric injury.  We strongly argued that both Mr and Mrs Andrews were secondary victims because they were both present when their baby daughter died and there should be no distinguishing between them.

After further negotiation the Defendant decided to settle all of the claims on a joint basis. NHS Compensation of £70,000 was agreed with a letter of apology from the Chief Executive at the NHS Hospital Trust provided to Mr and Mrs Andrews.

Both Mr and Mrs Andrews were assessed by an independent psychiatrist who reported that they had each sustained a recognised psychiatric injury as a result of seeing the shocking death of their daughter.  The bulk of their NHS financial compensation related to their respective psychiatric injuries and provided for future psychiatric counselling.

Finding out the truth about their daughter’s treatment and death was crucial to Mr and Mrs Andrews and our team are proud to have helped them achieve this in her name.

Client Comments

‘The day our daughter passed away was the worse day of our lives.  We were informed that there would be an independent review of our daughter’s death and throughout all this review something felt wrong.

As parents we had this instinct that there had been negligence with our care and we felt so strongly that even though our daughter was premature she should of survived. At a meeting with the doctors regarding the independent review we were highly unsatisfied with the findings and report so we sought legal support.

Guy and the team at Minton Morrill have been outstanding in advocating our daughter, finding the truth and asking questions that we simply don’t have the knowledge or authority to demand the answer for.  It was so important to us to find the truth about what happened to our little girl and Guy has certainly helped us understand and know her story better.

We will never get comfort or closure from our daughters passing but Guy has helped us to feel more confident that the Hospital Trust will not make the same mistakes again and that our daughter has a positive legacy so that other parents don’t find themselves in the same position we were left in. 

We needed someone standing up for our daughter when we were so deep in grief. Guy and Minton Morrill provided that’.

Why Choose Us to Help?

Guy Pomphrey and the medical negligence lawyers at Minton Morrill only practice medical negligence law and have renowned expertise in Fatal Claims cases.

More information about Fatal Claims can be assessed by clicking here and information about our team of expert lawyers and medical negligence found here.

Click here for information about birth injury medical negligence claims.