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Medical negligence(8 Posts)
To cut a long story short, my son is 5 and autistic. I also think he has some problems with hearing in that he can't cope with loud and background noises although technically when tested his hearing was normal but with some question marks over how he perceived certain pitches.
My son had a very traumatic birth, 55 hours of so of labour with an emergency high forceps delivery where he was yanked out in 3 pulls. I questioned why on my son's notes it said proceed to emergency c section to which the obstetrician did actually say that 'You have to have him vaginally as I have an emergency c section to do' which to my mind suggests that he should have been a c section but they were short staffed as it was Xmas Eve. He stopped breathing for about 2 mins at birth although the medical team made light of it at the time. He was a strong healthy full term baby (12 days over) of 9lb 9oz so I think he probably stopped breathing due to shock/birth trauma. He was transverse and large and didn't turn during delivery. I was very frustrated to discover that the midwife had realised this several days before (when she tried and failed to do a membrane sweep at 7 days overdue) but not said anything or acted on it.
So, I am starting to wonder if my son suffered some degree of brain damage at birth and I have heard that autism can be linked to traumatic births. There were other little signs at the time too like the fact that he didn't hold his head up until over 4 months inspite of him being a large strong baby. In many ways he is very intelligent (good at reading etc) but overall the autism and his general developmental delay have meant he has had to be placed in a special school. It has also had implications for me as I basically had to give up a well paid job as finding childcare to meet his needs was nigh on impossible.
I know it may seem a bit late to be pursuing a claim for medical negligence based on his birth now but it is only really as his problems have become evident that I have started to look back and wonder if he was brain damaged due to birth trauma to me the big telltale sign is him stopping breathing at birth which I believe was due to the traumatic nature of the forceps.
I am hoping someone can point me in the direction of some good legal firms for medical negligence in childbirth cases? Ideally no win no fee ones that are reputable as I have limited funds. I'd also be interested to hear from anyone who has pursued a claim on similar grounds (pm me if you prefer)
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op hope someone can help with the case
I'm not a spammer I promise! I have posted on mumsnet before on other topics
By all means speak to a solicitor who specialises in medical negligence to see if there is a case here. You can also get hold of your birth records via the hospital (cost about £25) to see if there were any untoward events you were not aware of.
Regarding the autism, there are some links to traumatic births, but also very strong genetic links in most cases. As far as I know this is an untested (in court) side of the law and without a precedent, you are on a bit of a sticky wicket.
Get more info though from the experts, its always worth a try!
as far as time limits are concerned there is no problem as effectively you have until DS is 21. in relation to proof of causation though this sounds difficult - clearly you will need expert evidence. As far as good medical negligence solicitors are concerned I can recommend Bolt Burdon and Hodge Jones Allen [both in London]. i am pretty sure both do no win no fee ....
Thanks that's really helpful. I will give the firms you mention a call.
I think it possibly is a bit of a questionable area of the law. I was thinking that the fact my son stopped breathing at birth might link it to brain damage as opposed to just autism if that makes sense.
By all means have a chat with a solicitor but I think you need to be cautious how you proceed. Cases like this drag on for years with sometimes very uncertain outcomes. Just be careful about how much energy you devote to this because it could be an unpaid investment.
If you believe the breathing episode at birth caused brain damage then DS would need an MRI to substantiate this. It is unlikely you would get this done on the NHS. It is not usually done anyway for ASD. In any case some mild brain injury is so subtle it doesnt show up anyway, but I think any legal action would have to have this as a starting point. MRIs are no big deal though.
Is there any significant research to support the hypoxic birth leading to ASD outcomes?
fwiw I agree the birth was mishandled.
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