Baby left disabled after heart monitor turned off for 100 minutes during labour
A newborn baby boy was left severely disabled after errors by bungling hospital staff meant he was starved of oxygen for 100 minutes.
Lotti and Marc Ellis have received a payout from the NHS more than 10 years after son Josiah suffered brain damage and went on to develop cerebral palsy.
The tiny baby had to be resuscitated after midwives at Russells Hall Hospital in Dudley, West Mids, switched off his heart monitor for nearly two hours.
Staff had failed to pick up on Josiah’s distress during his mum’s labour on January 14, 2009, reports BirminghamLive.
Lotti, now 44, was admitted to the hospital around 7pm, with signs of an abnormal heart rate detected in the baby at about 1am the next morning.
Despite Josiah’s HR decelerating five times before the CTG monitor was turned off, midwives failed to turn it back on for another one hour and 40 minutes.
This led to a delayed delivery and medical experts believe if Josiah had been born just five to ten minutes earlier his permanent brain injury would have been avoided.
Josiah was diagnosed with cerebral palsy at 18 months and will require specialist support, care and therapies for the rest of his life.
Lotti and husband Marc, 52, have now successfully sued the NHS after the Dudley Group NHS Foundation Trust admitted liability.
The family has received an undisclosed settlement which will fund the life-long needs of wheelchair-bound Josiah, now 11, who also has learning and speech difficulties.
Lotti said: “What should have been the happiest time of our lives was awful.
“The labour was really distressing. As soon as Josiah was delivered he was taken away to be resuscitated. At first Marc and I were completely in the dark.
“Seeing Josiah afterwards in the special care baby unit while being told he may still die was heartbreaking.”
She said the couple had pictured for months what it would be like to finally meet their new son but it was “nothing like the reality”.
“Going home without him was really difficult. We were so relieved when he was finally allowed home but we knew that he was not developing properly.
“Coming to terms with what the future holds for Josiah has been difficult but we feel so blessed that he is our son.
“It is almost as though he was given a second lease of life from God, whilst we get a chance to love and hold him for a time.
“While he faces many challenges we are so proud of the determination he shows not to be defined by his condition.
“He’s an adorable little boy with an infectious smile who enjoys things all children do such as playing with friends and singing.
“We’re just a normal family who go on days out and go to the park.
“Our lives are dedicated to helping Josiah. He’s making amazing progress at a conductive education school.”
Lotti and Mark, of Ockley, Surrey, who have have another son, Samuel, aged nine, were living in Sedgley, West Mids, at the time of the traumatic birth.
Even after Josiah was born without a pulse, a paediatrician was not called and it took four minutes for one to arrive following delivery.
Midwifery staff had also decided not to escalate Josiah’s condition for a senior review throughout the labour despite concerns over his heart rate.
Had monitoring continued it would have shown signs of distress and Josiah would have been born within an hour, according to independent expert evidence.
The Trust admitted the care provided fell below the standard expected and had Josiah received the appropriate levels he would have been born without brain injury.
Lindsay Tomlinson, a specialist medical negligence lawyer at Irwin Mitchell, represented the family and helped secure their settlement.
She praised Joshiah’s parents for the “incredible resilience” shown throughout the legal proceedings.
“During the course of our investigations worrying issues in the care that Josiah received were identified.”
The lawyer added “it’s vital lessons are learned” so that other families in the future can avoid the pain endured.
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