Central Coast woman awarded $250,000 after losing her first born child in hospital

PUBLISHED 26 Apr 2017

We recently acted for a young woman from the Central Coast who presented to hospital at about 41 weeks pregnant after her water breaking where it was determined that she was not, in fact, in labour. After being monitored for a few hours and given labour inducing drugs to no avail, it was noted that foetal tachycardia was present and the decision to proceed with an Emergency Caesarean Section was made by the hospital. Nearly 2 hours after the order for the Caesarean Section was made, the procedure and delivery finally took place. The baby was born in poor condition and it was noted that the cord was very tight around her neck, body and left leg. Due to the baby’s very poor condition, she was transferred to the Special Care Nursery. Despite significant resuscitation, she ultimately passed away approximately 10 hours after being born.

As a result of the death of her first-born child, our client suffered severe psychological injury including grief reaction, depression including suicidal ideation, and post-traumatic stress disorder characterised by panic attacks, anxiety, and nightmares. Her life was entirely consumed by the aftermath of this tragic outcome of what she had expected would be the most joyous times of her life.

Understandably devastated and at a loss for what to do next to remedy the pain, our client approached Gerard Malouf and Partners to enquire about what her potential options might be in commencing an action against the hospital.  Julie Baqleh, a specialist in medical negligence claims, took carriage of the matter and commenced proceedings in the District Court of NSW. We began to gather evidence to determine the extent and permanency of the psychological effects that our client would continue to suffer from in the future as a result of the loss of her first-born child.

As part of this process, Ms Baqleh briefed a senior barrister with expertise in medical negligence and quickly sought the opinion of an expert obstetrician whose report revealed that the hospital was negligent as it fell short of competent professional practice by failing to investigate the foetal heart rate anomalies and failing to act expeditiously when the Caesarean section was ordered.

After taking a firm stance throughout the vigorous negotiations during the informal settlement conference, Ms Baqleh and our expert barrister achieved a settlement of $250,000 for our client. Our client was very pleased with these results and although nothing could remedy the loss of her baby, she expressed her continuing gratitude and appreciation to Ms Baqleh and her team for their unwavering commitment to resolve the matter effectively and efficiently to attain maximum justice.   

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