Obstetrics / Birth injury to the fetus

Intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR)

Intrauterine growth restriction not detected and fetal distress during labour

Success story

Maisy had an uneventful pregnancy, but intrauterine Growth Restriction (IUGR) was not detected. She went into spontaneous labour at Term +12 days. A prolonged bradycardia was detected and so it was decided that an immediate Caesarean section should be performed. The baby, Heidi, was in poor condition, requiring resuscitation and ventilation. Hypoxic ischaemic encephalopathy (HIE) Grade 3 was diagnosed and so the baby was transferred to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. It was alleged that detection of IUGR would have prevented Heidi's brain damage and disibilities. However, PMS Expert Report concluded that the rapid deterioration of the fetus was caused by a totally unexpected acute hypoxic event. As soon as this was detected, the response was appropriate and the baby was delivered within 20 minutes - well within the national standard of 30 minutes. Even if the baby had been delivered 15 minutes earlier, the risks of neurological damage would have been unaltered. The case was not pursued.

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