The parents of a severely disabled boy who was starved of oxygen at birth when medics switched off his heart monitor for 100 minutes have received a payout from the NHS.
Josiah Ellis was born without any pulse and had to be resuscitated after bungling hospital staff failed to spot telltale signs of distress during his mum’s labour.
He was left brain damaged and went on to develop cerebral palsy following a string of blunders by midwives at Russells Hall Hospital in Dudley, West Mids.
Mum Lotti had been admitted to the hospital at around 7pm on January 14, 2009 and signs of an abnormal heart rate were detected at about 1am the next morning.
Despite Josiah’s heart rate 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, 44, 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.
“During my pregnancy Marc and I had pictured so many times what it would be like meeting Josiah for the first time. What we had hoped for 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 said: “Sadly through our work we see the catastrophic consequences of suffering a brain injury at birth, which has a profound effect on that child and the whole family for the rest of their lives.
“Josiah’s parents have shown incredible resilience throughout the years I have worked with them in coming to terms with what happened and providing the best life possible for Josiah, as well as his brother.
“Like in many cases where a person suffers a brain injury as a child, Josiah has had to wait several years for doctors to fully establish the true extent of his injuries and predict his likely future needs.
“During the course of our investigations worrying issues in the care that Josiah received were identified.
“While nothing can make up for his injuries it’s vital that lessons are learned so others don’t have to experience the upset that Marc, Lotti and the rest of the family have endured.
“Every minute and second counts when delivering babies in distress.”