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Posted on 16th August 2017

23 Percent Rise In Brain Damaged Babies

In 2016 / 2017 the number of babies born with brain damage rose by 23% on the previous year to 232. The cost of providing care for those babies could exceed £20m per child.

The life-long complex care requirements of a brain damaged child and the associated legal costs account for around 50% of the total costs paid out in compensation claims. The value of the 232 claims was almost £2bn.

Failures by midwives to monitor the baby’s heart rate during labour is a common cause of brain damage due to oxygen starvation because midwifes do not know when the baby is becoming distressed causing a delay in performing an emergency caesarean section.

Some medical experts have also criticised the training given to midwives because they are not routinely trained on the machines used to monitor the baby’s heart rate.

The Royal College of Midwives recently dropped its campaign launched in 2005, where expectant mothers were encouraged to give birth naturally and without medical intervention. Some media sources have blamed this campaign for the rise in brain damaged babies following the inquiry into 11 baby deaths at the Morecambe Bay Trust between 2004 and 2013.

The NHS Resolution, formerly NHSLA are pushing the government to reform the legal system in medical negligence compensation claims in a bid to cut legal costs.

The chief executive of NHS Resolution said “These incidents can have a devastating impact on those involved and we must do everything we can to learn from what happened. Like all parts of the NHS, we need to make sure that every penny we spend is value for money for the taxpayer. This means making some difficult decisions on delivering compensation only where it is due and ensuring that the NHS is not overcharged for legal costs.”

Some legal professionals are concerned that the planned reforms may harm access to justice for victims of medical negligence and could reduce the compensation awards putting a strain on the families of the victims.


Failures by midwives to monitor the baby or the mum during labour is a major cause for concern and accounts for some of the largest compensation claim awards.

When a baby is born with brain damage due to oxygen starvation, the care costs required to look after the child can be so high because the child may require 24 hour care for the rest of their life.

Where brain damage can be attributed to a health care professional not doing things correctly, a claim for compensation can be made. A £10.8m birth injury medical negligence claim is one of the highest compensation awards ever made in the UK.

If your child was born with a birth injury which could have been avoided or if you have suffered an injury whilst giving birth, you may be entitled to make a compensation claim. Contact us on 0330 3559210 or for a free claim assessment.