A compensation claim for a stillborn birth due to hospital negligence has been resolved out-of-court for an undisclosed five-figure amount.
In October 2009, Katie Page from Droitwich in Worcestershire was a week overdue for the birth of her first child. Katie´s pregnancy had progressed normally, despite being identified as “high risk” due to a family medical history of thrombosis. Indeed, Katie herself suffered from Factor V Leiden thrombophilia, and an inducement of her baby had been arranged for a few days later.
During the night of October 5th/6th, Katie experienced mild contractions and a subsequent reduction in her baby´s movements. The following morning Katie telephoned the Day Assessment Unit (DAU) and was told to drink plenty of cold water and contact the hospital later if she was still concerned.
That afternoon, Katie again experienced mild contractions but still no movement from her baby. She telephoned the hospital once again and was told to call back later with an update. Shortly after midnight, Katie´s husband – Robert – telephoned the hospital to say that his wife was experiencing constant pain and he was told to bring Katie to the hospital.
However, rather than being seen by an obstetrician, Katie was attended by a midwife; who performed a vaginal inspection rather than conduct a CT scan and sent Katie home again – even though her inducement was booked for a few hours later. At 9.00am in the morning, Katie called the hospital once again to enquire about the inducement, and was told that no beds were available.
Several more attempts throughout the day proved no more successful and at 7.00pm that evening Katie went to the Worcestershire Royal Hospital requesting that she be admitted. At 9.45pm Katie was eventually admitted onto a labour ward, but an assessment of her condition did not take place until 11.15pm – when a midwife could not find the foetal heart beat and summoned the obstetric registrar.
Ultrasound scans confirmed Katie´s worst fears – that her child had died in the womb – but she still had to endure a prolonged induce labour the following morning to deliver her stillborn son – which Katie and Robert named Harry.
After seeking legal advice, Katie and Robert made a compensation claim for a stillborn birth due to hospital negligence – claiming that had Katie been admitted when she had first contacted the hospital, Harry might have been delivered safely and survived. Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust admitted liability for Harry´s avoidable death, and the undisclosed settlement of the couple´s compensation claim for a stillborn birth due to hospital negligence was negotiated.