A couple is taking legal action against the NHS after a hospital blunder left their baby with a severe brain injury when he was starved of oxygen during birth.
Little Iszak Derby was left with cerebral palsy and epilepsy as well as hearing and sight problems after midwives failed to spot his heart rate abnormalities.
A internal investigation found hospital staff failed to “recognize and respond” to the heart problems on the over-stretched maternity ward at University Hospital Coventry.
It found the workload of labor ward staff resulted in them “losing awareness” of the situation and a “lack of communication” prevented them from informing senior doctors.
Iszak was delivered by emergency cesarean at around 6:20 p.m on June 27 this year– four days before he was due.
Staff spent 13 minutes trying to resuscitate him and he spent the first six days of his life on a ventilator – including five days in intensive care.
His parents Alice and Kyza, of Longford, Coventry, have now started legal proceedings against the hospital ahead of World Cerebral Palsy Day.
“We still cannot really believe what has happened to our family,” Alice, 26, a children’s services team leader, said. “It is so difficult to try and describe the last few months. We are not sure what the future holds as we are still waiting to hear about the extent of Iszak’s injuries and how they will affect him.”
“What is certain though is that we will give him all the love and care we can,” she said. “Iszak means everything to us.”
“It is hard not to feel angry about what has happened to our family,” Kyza, 31, an insurance consultant, said. “We now want answers to the many questions we have about the care Alice and Iszak received and if more should have been done to prevent my boy’s injuries. We just want to find out more so hopefully others families don’t have to go through what we have.”
Alice had experienced reduced fetal movement on May 23 and June 18 and following consultation with medical staff, she was induced on June 23.
Monitoring of Iszak’s heart rate started and Alice was transferred to the hospital’s labor ward before her water broke at around 12:15 a.m. on June 27.
She was administered syntocinon – a drug designed to speed up labor at 7:15 a.m. and a consultant noted the baby’s heart rate was “normal”.
At around 1:20 p.m. a doctor recorded the cardiotocography (CTG) reading as suspicious and Alice’s syntocinon dose was increased.
Staff sounded the emergency buzzer around 25 minutes later following a ‘prolonged’ low fetal heart rate.
An investigation report said that at around 2:30 p.m. a midwife raised concerns over the CTG results to a doctor writing in medical notes that “intervention is required.”
However, the report said that the doctor did not remember this and they were elsewhere on the labor ward at that time.
Further slowing in Iszak’s heart rate were recorded throughout the afternoon, including just before 5:10 p.m. when the heart rate monitor stated his condition was “pathological.”
At around 5:45 p.m. a midwife interrupted a medical staff handover meeting to ask for a review.
University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust conducted an investigation which found there had been “a failure to recognize and respond to abnormalities”.
Jenna Harris, medical negligence lawyer at Irwin Mitchell, who are representing the family, said: “This is an incredibly emotional time for Kyza and Alice as they still struggle to come to terms with the events that happened during Iszak’s birth.”
“People with cerebral palsy have complex needs and it is anticipated that Iszak will need a range of specialist rehabilitation and therapies as he grows older,” Harris said. “Kyza and Alice have instructed us to investigate more could have been done during Alice’s labor to prevent Iszak’s injuries and to help them access the specialist support he will need in future.
“We recognize that the Trust has made several recommendations in its incident report and we urge it to ensure these are implemented as soon as possible to improve patient care for other..