Asons Warns Of Birthing Injuries After Death of Baby Girl at Princess Anne Hospital

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After the death of a new born baby during a traumatic birth, it is reported that the doctor responsible recently broke down in tears during the inquest of Lucy McGuffin (1).

I think there were several occasions where I think they could have and should have ultra-sounded me and in that case it would have been very clear that she had a big problem

According to a news report, Lucy was left with ‘extensive injuries’, including fractures to her back after having an extremely difficult birth bought on by a condition that left her with an abdomen that was larger than her head (1). Although this is an extremely rare condition, it can carry very serious consequences and induce a very dangerous labour.

According to research by Asons Solicitors information was found from MedlinePlus (2), that explains that the condition in question known as Hydrops Fetalis is an extremely rare condition that can carry very serious consequences and induce a very dangerous labour. Further on from this research Suzanne Yates, Executive at Asons said “An accurate diagnosis must be made either before or very early on into the labour as it carries such massive risks to the health of the baby. It is imperative that the doctors involved are able to work under such pressure and be able to make snap decisions as to the best way for the child to born in order to preserve their life” (2).

During the hearing, the Southampton Coroner’s Court were trying to establish whether or not the injuries that Lucy received could have been prevented by the actions that the doctor chose to take. However they heard that even if the doctor was to order a caesarean section and avoided the birthing injuries, she still may have died because her condition, Hydrops Fetalis, was so severe (1).

Lucy’s parents, John and Clare, told the hearing that at the birth of their child on August 2nd of 2012, they felt as though there were opportunities that were missed by the doctor that could have given her a higher chance of survival, as recorded by the article (1).

The parents felt that if the doctor had carried out an ultrasound scan before the birth, the condition would have been diagnosed because Hydrops Fetalis builds up an abnormal amount of liquid in the foetus which would have been recognised and the caesarean would have been carried out (1). The news report claims that John and Clare McGuffin requested an ultrasound scan and caesarean birth because of their own concerns, however they were denied these and were told to have a natural vaginal birth which lead to the tragic birthing injuries (1).

Lucy’s mother, Mrs McGuffin, spoke about the ordeal in the news article saying:
“I think there were several occasions where I think they could have and should have ultra-sounded me and in that case it would have been very clear that she had a big problem in which case, that would have altered the management of the delivery”(1).

Also speaking on the tragedy, Mr McGuffin Spoke out saying:
“We feel there was evidence and that it was a set of decisions and lack of resources that prevented the evidence being further investigated and we feel that is a missed opportunity”(1).

Speaking about birth injuries, Asons Executive Suzanne Yates said:
“Giving birth can be a very traumatic time for many women but this story truly saddens me. If it was known that the foetus was abnormally large, more should have been done to investigate whether or not it would have been safe to have a natural birth. If this was a genuine option, the family could choose to file for birth injury compensation to help them rebuild their lives and those of their other two children, to help recover from this traumatic event”.

Doctors from The Princess Anne Hospital told the hearing how they felt that there were no concerns that would lead them to believe that an ultra sound scan would be justified. Although they were aware that Mrs McGuffin was carrying a large baby, there was no evidence to divert their decision of proceeding with a normal delivery (1).

It has been reported the senior registrar chose to only use his hands to complete the rest of the delivery, instead of using forceps. He said “Up to the stage that the baby's head came out there was no reason to think of doing a caesarean because everything was normal”(1).

The news report states that after the doctor gave his evidence, he broke down in the tears and asked to address the Lucy’s parents saying:
“I am really saddened by the whole thing. I am sorry for the loss. I just pray that God continues to give you the strength to carry on. I will continue to pray for you.
“This has never happened to me before and hopefully it is the last time” (1).

The news report states that although every effort was made in order to try and resuscitate Lucy, she died a few hours later (1).

As reported in the article, Consultant Matthew Coleman also spoke at the inquest about the traumatic birth saying that although he believes that a caesarean would have eliminated a lot more of the risk of injury from the birth, a “lack of capacity” within the NHS meant that they were unable to investigate further into the baby’s condition because ultra sound scans can only be given when there are serious concerns about the baby’s health, which they didn’t have at the time (1).

Pathologist Samantha Holden explained at the hearing that their investigations shown that the death of Lucy was caused by a combination of the birth injuries as a result her of Hydrops Fetalis (1).

Coroner Keith Wiseman has yet to come to a verdict (1).

Traumatic births such as this can be devastating to families and in this case Lucy and her family were very unfortunate. Birthing Injuries can have lifelong consequences for some people, and Asons Solicitors have some of the best clinical negligence solicitors in the country that can give free advice on making a birthing injury claim. To find out more information, visit or call 01204 521 133 to talk to one of their experienced team.

(1)    The Daily Echo, Baby Died Shortly After Difficult Birth, Friday 17th May


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About Asons Solicitors:
Asons Solicitors is a Bolton-based law practice that specialises in personal injury and industrial disease claims. Founded by brothers Imran Akram and Kamran Akram, Asons Solicitors has developed to become a young and dynamic law firm that delivers practical solutions to clients in times of difficulty. Their continued focus on their staff has seen them awarded with the Investors in People “Gold Award”; which is reflected in the professional and personable approach they take in working with clients. They strive to grow and to develop, and their supportiveness and attention to detail ensures that their clients use them time and again.

For further information contact:
Email: info(at)asons(dot)co(dot)uk

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