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Medical negligence severe brain damage & death in new born babies

There can be nothing sadder or tragic than a situation when a baby that grows healthily and normally in its mother’s womb ends up with severe brain damage and is impaired for life because of medical negligence by inefficient and careless doctors. However, it has come to light there are hundreds of babies who meet this fate. Most of the cases are due to negligence to identify low blood sugar levels in new born babies, which leads to brain damage and in severe cases, death as well.

Nearly 60 medical negligence claims have been settled by NHS Litigation Authority, which has set aside £235.4 million for the purpose. These claims were for failure of the medical staff to recognize blood sugar level and administer timely treatment. One of the most common birth injuries, besides brain damage, is Erb’s Palsy which is a kind of arm injury. Low blood sugar condition is called hypoglycemia. In two cases, the sugar level dropped so low that the babies died. Apart from this, the NHS Litigation Authority has received 79 medical negligence claims for cases involving damage to the baby due to hypoglycemia. Out of these 60 cases have been settled and 19 cases were not awarded compensation. Among the 60 cases which were awarded compensation for clinical negligence, 19 cases received compensation between £300,000 and over £7 million. 7 cases have received more than £6 million in medical negligence solicitors claims. Besides these, 41 other cases are being defended by the authority.

The total cost has been estimated to be £235.4 million. This estimate includes both expenses incurred for legal procedures and for compensation payments. £69.3 million has been settled for 19 cases and for the 41 cases that are being defended, a total expense of £166.1 million is being expected.

Hypoglycemia in new born babies affects around three babies in every 1000 babies born. In case the condition is not detected at birth and if timely care is not provided, the results can be disastrous. According to campaigners against suchmisdiagnosis of blood sugar levels at birth, there needs to be a drastic improvement in the promptness of action that is taken after the birth of a child. Blood sugar test has to be immediately performed and feeding has to be monitored.

Peter Walsh, who is the chief executive of Action Against Medical Accidents, an organization that deals with patient safety in medical facilities, said that although cases such as these are not many, the repercussions of negligence on the child and its family are so severe that care should be taken to ensure that not even a single such case occurs. He also said that one of the biggest contributors of such negligence is the shortage of well trained midwives. Medical negligence specialist, Angela Kirtley, said that they receive a lot of complaints regarding negligence in feeding.

Causing severe impairment is a baby, especially when it is due to negligence, is nothing short of criminal. While it is important that negligent medical staff should be brought to book, it is more important to ensure that such cases do not happen.



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