Douse v Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust [2019] EWHC 2294 (QB) (27 August 2019)

C suffered a serious hypoxic ischaemic injury during the course of her birth by caesarean section on 28 October 2012 which has led to severe and profound disability… her injury was caused by the operative procedure, which lasted approximately 16 minutes from the incision to the uterus to the removal of the baby, and the issue for this court in the liability only trial has been whether or not the obstetric registrar [D] was negligent in failing to deliver C within a significantly shorter period of time, and in particular within five minutes. [1]

…a decision was made that the baby should be delivered by caesarean section because of foetal distress… D was happy to carry out the procedure without assistance… having performed caesarean sections on a number of previous occasions. [8]

final vaginal examination… the cervix as being 9 cm dilated, the head being at the level of the spines, and one fifth palpable, its position being right OP and deflexed, that is with chin back and not forward, with no caput and a moderate degree of moulding… [10]

D was unable to deliver the baby despite trying a number of different methods… It took [consultant] two minutes to achieve the delivery of the baby… C was in a very poor condition… [13]

[consultant] accepted that there was no anatomical abnormality… It was more properly described as a tight fit. [40]

…the most likely explanation for the relative promptness of delivery for [consultant], which I accept was far more difficult than had been anticipated prior to the surgery, is that D was not possessed of the necessary skill and expertise to cope with such difficulties. [97]

…Claimant succeeds on the issue of liability and causation… [100]