Clinical negligence claims involving labour and delivery—injuries to the child
Produced in partnership with Renée Wood
Clinical negligence claims involving labour and delivery—injuries to the child

The following PI & Clinical Negligence guidance note Produced in partnership with Renée Wood provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Clinical negligence claims involving labour and delivery—injuries to the child
  • Informed consent—Montgomery
  • Practical considerations when managing birth injury claims
  • Common birth injuries to the baby
  • Take-home messages

This Practice Note sets out practical considerations when managing these types of claims, followed by an overview of common types of injury to children occurring during childbirth. It focuses on liability rather than quantum.

The usual requirements regarding breach of duty, causation and damages apply. See Overviews: Liability, Damages and Catastrophic claims.

Informed consent—Montgomery

When dealing with birth injury claims you should be familiar with Montgomery which involved a child born with cerebral palsy due to oxygen deprivation during a prolonged labour. The liability issues revolved around the information given to the mother about the mode of delivery and its risks. It has wide-reaching application and has reframed the test for what information should be provided during the consent process. For further guidance on this case and subsequent developments, see Practice Note: Consent in clinical negligence claims—treatment and causation.

Following Montgomery, the Royal College of Surgeons issued guidance on consent including the principles for working with patients through a process of supported decision-making, the role of the consent form and how to document the consent process.

Practical considerations when managing birth injury claims

Investigate liability early

These claims might not be resolved for many years after the birth. Condition, prognosis and ongoing needs will frequently be unclear at the outset and it will be appropriate to wait until the child is