£12,000,000 Compensation in Midwifery Negligence Case

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Kate McCue

Medical Negligence Associate Solicitor

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The role of a midwife is to deliver a baby carefully and successfully, maintaining the emotional and physical health of the mother and the physical health of the baby.

Sometimes, though, things can go wrong during childbirth. Delivering a baby is a difficult procedure, and one that requires a lot of care and attention. Unfortunately, human errors can happen in any industry and in any area of healthcare, including midwifery.

In this article, though, we’re going to focus on a case in which the baby’s health was affected by midwifery negligence. In this case, the damage done to the infant during the birth has an impact on the rest of the child’s life, even into adulthood.

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A Medical Negligence Claim Case Study – Our Client’s Situation

An infant was delivered by midwives from University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust at the mother’s home. Tragically, mistakes were made throughout the delivery, which led to the child being born with brain damage.

The baby boy was diagnosed with microcephaly, developmental delay and dystonic cerebral palsy, as well as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). As a result, the child will never be able to work and will require care for the rest of his life.

Unfortunately, this medical negligence means that our client will likely be caring for her child for the rest of her life, and may have to pay for care.

In addition, our client’s career prospects are likely to be limited as a result of the negligence, especially if she cares for him for the rest of his life. If this is the case, our client will only be able to work part-time, if at all, meaning she will only be able to apply for and get jobs which appreciate and understand the main other priorities in her life, namely, her son.

Our client’s son will feel the effects of this medical negligence too, of course. He now has lifelong conditions as a result of how he was delivered, and because he was born with brain damage. This means that the rest of his life will be affected as a result of this medical negligence.

Perhaps the worst part of this case, though, is that the damage caused to our client’s son was preventable. The mistakes made during the delivery severely damaged the infant, leaving him with brain damage. This is the essence of this case; if the delivery had been smooth and mistake-free, the baby wouldn’t have suffered so much damage.

When working on this case, once we had established this main fact, we knew that our client had a strong claim to put forward for compensation.

How We Helped

The child’s family got in touch with our specialist Medical Negligence Solicitors for help with claiming compensation from University College London Hospitals Trust NHS Foundation Trust.

We obtained medical evidence from independent experts, which allowed us to build our case. We alleged that there was a failure by midwifery staff attending the home birth to recognise the warning signs of shoulder dystocia (where the baby’s shoulder gets caught on the mother’s pelvic bone) and to act upon them.

As they did not identify that something was wrong, the midwives failed to instigate the recommended manoeuvres in the management of shoulder dystocia and they did not recognise the need to bring in urgent medical support. This meant an emergency ambulance was not called as soon as it should have been.

We also argued that, shortly after the baby’s birth, midwifery staff were further negligent in that they failed to properly resuscitate the baby, and they did not provide a working oxygen cylinder at his home.

As the medical negligence left the child with severe brain damage that would seriously affect him for life, our Medical Negligence Solicitors argued that the University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust should pay sufficient compensation to allow him access the care and support he would need throughout his lifetime.

It was evident from the beginning that our client was owed compensation for the medical negligence that caused such an impact to the health of her child. Our Medical Negligence Solicitors looked through our client’s case, checking over her evidence and the details of what happened to her, and we agreed that she had a strong case.

We were therefore able to build a strong claim with her, to make sure that she presented all her evidence and all the information about how the medical negligence affected her and her baby’s lives, as well as the lives of the rest of her family members.

We treated this case and our client with the sensitivity and mindfulness it deserved, acting as a safe space for our client to explain the significant damage it had caused the child.

The Outcome

After lengthy negotiations, University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust agreed to pay compensation to the child.

He was awarded a lump sum payment of £3,600,000 compensation and will receive annual payments for the rest of his life. This means the total amount of damages awarded will be in excess of £12,000,000.

No amount of compensation will be able to cover the pain and damage caused to both mother and son in this case. Our client’s son had the course of his life completely altered as a result of the mistakes these midwives made, when he would have likely had a healthy and fairly normal life otherwise.

Overall, though, we were pleased with the outcome of the compensation claim, as was our client. The annual payments, we felt, would cover the cost of care for our client’s son, and the initial lump sum was a really good amount given the devastating events that took place during the birth.

In addition, we felt that the overall amount of compensation we settled on adequately reflected the damage caused to our client’s son, and the effects it would have throughout his life. This case is a very sad and extreme example of what can happen when medical professionals like midwives make mistakes, and how massively it can affect the lives of the people involved.



Royal College of Midwives. (2021, September). RCM warns of midwife exodus as maternity staffing crisis grows. Retrieved from https://www.rcm.org.uk/media-releases/2021/september/rcm-warns-of-midwife-exodus-as-maternity-staffing-crisis-grows/

Independent. (n.d.). NHS faces midwife shortage as Royal College warns of 'exodus'. Retrieved from https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/nhs-england-royal-college-of-midwives-government-care-quality-commission-b2373603.html

Kate McCue

Medical Negligence Associate Solicitor

Areas of Expertise:
Medical Negligence

Kate joined the Clinical Negligence department at Simpson Millar in January 2023 after previously working at Chris Kallis Solicitors in Plymouth. Kate qualified as a solicitor in 2004 and has developed extensive experience in both Personal Injury and Medical Negligence.   

Initially Kate started working as a Defendant Solicitor for firms such as Bond Pearce LLP and DAC Beachcroft Claims Ltd. This has allowed Kate to develop a tactical advantage to her cases, using the experience of how a claim is dealt with from a Defendant’s perspective. 

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