07 June 2013

Do You Have a Valid Birth Injury Claim? Medical-Negligence.com

Negligence-related birth injury cases are quite rare in the UK, affecting less than 0.01% of the 700,000 women who give birth in NHS hospitals. Unfortunately these cases are often so severe that the resultant injuries to the child cause permanent disablement, for which over half will require further surgery to improve quality of life long-term and 24-hour care. Birth injury compensation can often help in such instances, offering peace of mind for parents that they can at least cover both medical and care costs during their child's early years.

At Medical-Negligence.com, we offer a free claim assessment service to anyone who feels their child may have been affected at birth by the negligence of a medical professional, without cost or obligation. Our highly experienced birth injury specialists can also help you to understand the litigation process with tailored advice based on the unique circumstances of your case. Visit us at Medical-Negligence.com for advice concerning your legal entitlement to claim, or to arrange a no obligation case assessment.

Record Payouts For Birth Injury Claims

The birth of a child is a wondrous moment, and thanks to the consistent standards of care provided by midwives and doctors, is usually without serious complication. But, recent statistics for 2012 published by the National Health Service Litigation Authority (NHSLA) suggests that hospital negligence is becoming a more widespread problem, with 100 birth injury claims filed last year alone for medical negligence and error. According to press reports, funds to the sum of an additional £185 million were also granted to the NHSLA in February 2012 to help cover the costs of high-value claims for Cerebral Palsy and birth brain injury; the average settlement being around £6 million due to lifetime care and medical costs.

Reasons cited for the increase in high-value claims vary considerably. Health professionals are of the belief that a growing awareness of legal rights and no win no fee claims has prompted a greater number of patients to pursue legal action than ever before, whereas medico-legal experts attribute the problem to staff shortages. The latter would appear to hold some truth given recent estimations by the Royal College of Midwives. Based on findings for 2009-2010 and 2011-2012, the RCM predicts that an additional 3,000 midwives are currently needed to cope with the burgeoning number of births in UK hospitals. And with estimates putting the figure at as many as 20,000 additional births each year for the next decade, the current ratio of midwives to annual births will be unsustainable long-term.

Conditions Associated With Negligence At Birth

“Birth injury” collectively refers to a group of disorders often seen in cases where medical professionals are found to have been negligent in the handing of a difficult labour. One of the most common is Cerebral Palsy; a group of conditions which affect motor skills, co-ordination and posture. Whilst there is no known cause for the condition in unborn infants, our solicitors have encountered many cases where doctors have failed to pick up on signs of the baby in distress, leading to oxygen deprivation.

Failures prior to labour can also present significant problems for an unborn child, particularly if the baby is far larger than expected and vaginal delivery is more difficult. Larger babies are often susceptible to shoulder dystocia, which is caused by the anterior shoulder getting stuck behind the pelvic bone. A Caesarean or episiotomy will usually be ordered to prevent the likelihood of the child becoming stuck during labour, which in turn can lead to injury to the Brachial Plexus if the use of forceps is required, as well as oxygen deprivation due to the process taking far longer than it should. These are failures which, medically, can often be prevented with consistent monitoring, diagnosis and planning, and will usually be grounds on which a claim can be filed.

Do You Have a Claim?

In order to qualify for no win no fee assistance, and have any hope of a successful outcome, there are several criteria which must be satisfied at the time of application. Firstly, there must be sufficient proof that a medical professional has breached his/ her duty of care to the patient, be this through malpractice, error or negligence.

Secondly, it must be demonstrated that no other causal link than this breach in duty could have led to the patient's injuries. Naturally, we don't expect you to be able to gather the required evidence necessary to prove your case, and in many cases, we are able to corroborate these details with a quick claim assessment when you contact us.

If you think you may have grounds for a claim following a mismanaged or difficult labour, and would like tailored advice regarding your options, book a consultation with one of our birth injury specialists via our website Medical-Negligence.com, or call us directly on the dedicated number provided.