Negligent Management of Labour by Midwives Leads to $5.6 Million Settlement for Family of Brain Injured Child
The parents of a child who suffered severe and permanent brain injury during labour recovered at least $5.6 million in compensation as a result of a settlement with the midwives who delivered the child. Amongst other things, the midwives failed to conduct proper fetal monitoring during labour and as a result did not detect very significant fetal heart rate abnormalities which showed that the baby was in grave distress. Due to the negligence of the midwives, the child currently suffers from cerebral palsy due to hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (a lack of oxygen-blood flow to the brain) sustained during labour.
For the majority of the mother’s pregnancy, she was followed by the defendant midwives. She had an uncomplicated full-term pregnancy. The mother was admitted to the Toronto area hospital at 18:30 in active labour. Although an assessment of the fetal heart rate baseline was carried out at that time, the midwives were negligent, as they obtained this information using a fetal heart rate monitor without a tracing (a paper record of the baby’s fetal heart rate and mother’s contractions).
Throughout labour, there were many other abnormal signs suggesting that the baby was in extreme distress, which included: the position of the baby was abnormal, the fetal heart rate and pattern were abnormal and the descent of the fetal head was very slow. Additionally, the membranes were artificially ruptured even though the baby’s head was not engaged. The midwives chose to ignore all of these alarming signs, which indicated significant fetal distress, even though they were required to consult with a doctor and undertake appropriate interventions.
The baby was delivered by the midwives the following morning, at 05:06, and was born flat with no respiratory effort. A code pink was not called until almost 10 minutes after the child was delivered. The baby required resuscitation, which included bag and mask initially, followed by intubation and extubation. A few hours subsequent to birth, the child developed seizures due to oxygen deprivation to the brain that was sustained during labour, resulting in permanent injury.
Sommers Roth & Elmaleh Professional Corporation has over 40 years of experience in medical malpractice litigation in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), Ontario, and across Canada.
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