We have been instructed in several cases where twin pregnancies have been negligently mismanaged and where one twin ended up with brain damage resulting in cerebral palsy. Multiple pregnancies carry extra risk for both mother and babies. This means that extra care needs to be taken, experienced doctors need to be involved and there should be additional monitoring.
In one case, N’s mum was advised (which commonly happens) that she should be booked in for an induction before the babies got too big. She and her husband turned up on the agreed date, she was admitted to the labour ward and then hooked up to a drip to induce labour. Tragically, however, a flu virus had resulted in several doctors being off sick and the unit was understaffed. When one of the twins got into trouble during labour, the midwife tried to summon help from a senior doctor, but the only consultant was already in theatre. As a result, N’s mum had to wait for what should have been an emergency caesarean section and N suffered from severe brain damage. This could have been avoided if N’s mum had never been admitted for induction that day and had, instead, been sent home to come back when the hospital was fully and safely staffed to deal with a twin labour.
In another case, twin 1 was born naturally but then the mother’s contractions eased off. Everyone waited while the contractions were encouraged to strengthen again by the use of a drip. Eventually twin 2 was born, but in a very poor condition and had to be resuscitated. Nobody had noticed that the second twin’s heart rate had shown signs of distress while the first twin was being pushed out. The second twin should have been born by emergency caesarean. In both cases, the children were awarded very significant awards of compensation.
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