JMX v Norfolk and Norwich Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust [2017] EWHC 3082 (QB) (30 November 2017)

The trial in this case was limited to the sole issue of breach of duty. (paragraph 2)

J was born at 22.38 on 12 March 2008 at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital for which the Defendant NHS Trust is responsible. He acquired a brain injury in the period shortly before his birth caused by what is agreed to have been a period of prolonged partial hypoxia, probably resulting from a maternal placental abruption occurring at approximately 20.20 to 20.30 that evening… (paragraph 3)

The primary issue in the case is whether his mother, who was at 37+2 weeks in her “high risk” pregnancy, should have been allowed home from the hospital at shortly after 18.00 on the day J was born. It is alleged on J’s behalf that she should not. Had she remained in hospital it is agreed that the problem that led to the brain damage (the placental abruption referred to above) would have been identified and that the brain damage itself would have been avoided. The secondary case is that, if it was acceptable for her to be allowed home, she had not been advised strongly enough to return quickly to hospital if the circumstances that in fact obtained occurred. Again, if she had returned to hospital in time for the consequences of the placental abruption to be avoided, it is agreed that the brain damage would not have occurred. (paragraph 4)

J’s mother’s pregnancy was “high risk” because her previous child had been born by Caesarean section… Her wish was to have J born vaginally if possible (paragraph… 6)

The risks associated with a VBAC… the most serious risk… arises from the possibility that the uterine scar from the previous Caesarean section ruptures or splits during labour. (paragraph 7)

[There was detailed consideration of guidelines, facts and evidence.]

…there must be judgment for the Claimant with damages to be assessed. (paragraph 165)