A baby suffered cerebral palsy and severe development diffi culties as a result of a starvation of oxygen to his brain during birth. During the birth, the baby’s shoulder became lodged behind his mother’s pubic bone, a condition known as shoulder dystocia. As a result, the baby’s body was delivered 15 minutes after its head, causing a compression of the umbilical cord which deprived the baby of oxygen. The family sought damages for alleged negligence by the Health Authority.
The court held that the baby’s mother should have been told of the risk of this complication and advised of the alternative of a Caesarean Section. However, if this had happened the mother would also have been told of the complications associated with a Caesarean and advised against this option by her consultant. If the mother had been told of the risk of shoulder dystocia, which was not more than 10%, on the balance of probabilities, she would have followed the advice of her consultant and opted for vaginal delivery. The court also held that, in the circumstances, the consultant and the senior registrar involved had not been negligent in the course of the baby’s delivery. The court found the Health Authority not liable and dismissed the claim. Jack Jones (by his father and litigation friend) v North West
Strategic Health Authority