Stillbirth and neonatal death claims

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Chambers UK
Clinical Negligence

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Tragically and despite advances in healthcare, it is estimated that 15 babies are stillborn or die in the early neonatal period every day in the UK. Where errors in medical treatment have contributed to this devastating loss, some bereaved parents may decide to claim compensation.

At Penningtons Manches, our specialist lawyers are experienced in dealing with the incredibly difficult and emotional issues surrounding stillbirth or neonatal death. We appreciate that while no amount of compensation can make up for what has happened, pursuing an independent investigation and potentially a negligence claim can provide much-needed answers for the families involved.

Uncovering the facts behind their loss can help parents to recover from the anxiety, anguish and grief that they are experiencing. An apology and changes to procedures following a legal investigation into a stillbirth or neonatal death can also offer reassurance that the same mistakes will not be repeated. Our lawyers will do everything they can to put clients at ease and support them during each step of an investigation.

Our focus is very much on understanding what parents hope to achieve and providing practical assistance throughout the stillbirth claims process. Unfortunately, childbirth does not always go to plan and mistakes can be made by obstetricians, midwives and neonatologists. Sometimes there are problems with the placenta during the delivery of a child, a baby may be particularly small because it has failed to grow as expected or a haemorrhage may have occurred.

In other cases a lack of oxygen, during labour, at or shortly after birth, poor resuscitation or an undiagnosed or untreated infection in the neonatal period can cause a baby's death. We also deal with compensation claims arising from negligent gynaecological care or maternal injury during childbirth, as well as a wide range of cerebral palsy cases.

Our initial consultation in stillbirth and neonatal claims is offered free of charge and without obligation. Funding options available to clients include no win no fee (conditional fee) agreements.

We offer expert advice on:

  • claims arising from placental abruption or the placenta coming away from the lining of the womb
  • failure to manage the care of a small baby before birth, often due to fetal growth restriction
  • claims relating to poor monitoring of the baby’s heartbeat during labour
  • the implications of maternal/gestational diabetes or high blood pressure on the baby
  • failure to identify and manage the problem of pregnancy-related itching
  • failure to act on a mother’s waters breaking and to induce the baby
  • untreated infections in the period following birth, such as a Strep B infection
  • poor resuscitation at birth or a failure to arrange for a baby who has been deprived of oxygen to receive either passive or active cooling
  • compensation to cover the cost of therapy for psychiatric injuries and potentially private medical care for future pregnancies
  • inquests into a baby’s death

Recent work highlights

Compensation for bereaved husband

Securing damages against Surrey and Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust for a husband whose wife and unborn child died at East Surrey Hospital following a delay in administering treatment to the expectant mother for a severe infection.


Negligent insertion of neonatal long line

Settling a claim against Portsmouth Hospital NHS Trust for neonatal death caused by an incorrect placement of a long line which penetrated the newborn baby’s right atrium causing cardiac tamponade, an accumulation of fluid in his heart preventing its proper function.


Fetal distress during labour

Representing a couple whose child was stillborn after the midwifery team failed to recognise signs of fetal distress on the CTG trace and to deliver the baby promptly. They both suffered psychiatric injuries and needed counselling.

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Penningtons Manches LLP

Penningtons Manches LLP is a limited liability partnership registered in England and Wales with registered number OC311575 and is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority. San Francisco is an associated office.

Penningtons Manches LLP