MIDWIVES at a ‘“tragic” home birth during which a girl suffered a devastating brain injury “could not have done more” to ensure her safe delivery, a top judge has ruled.
The girl, now aged 13, was left with severe cerebral palsy and communication problems as a result of the catastrophic injury she sustained when she was born in 2003.
Through her mother, she sued the Southend University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust for millions in damages, claiming the two midwives charged with her delivery were negligent.
Her lawyers argued the girl could have avoided any injury, or suffered substantially less damage, had the pair realised her heart rate had rapidly dropped sooner and acted more swiftly to deliver her.
But she will not receive a penny in compensation after her claim was today rejected by a judge at the High Court, in London, who found the tragedy could not have been avoided and was “no-one’s fault”.
Mrs Justice May said that, although the medical notes made during the birth were “sparse”, both midwives – who gave evidence during the hearing – said they had made regular observations of the mother and baby.
She concluded they were not lying about that and were not likely to have forgotten the events of that day, given the tragic outcome.
The judge also told the court the midwives were not criticised or sent for any further training following an internal investigation by the trust into the child’s birth.
Dismissing the girl’s claim, she said: “I am not satisfied, on the balance of probabilities, that the midwives attending the birth in 2003 acted in breach of duty.
She added: “Once the effects of the low heart rate were noticed, the midwives could not have acted more promptly or more effectively.
“Even if the low heart rate had been picked up earlier, there would, in my view, have been no difference in the eventual outcome.”