Out of Court Settlement 22/01/2010

Background

Mrs Connolly, a devout Catholic discovered that she was pregnant in December 2006.  She was referred to the Foetal Care Unit at Queen Charlotte's Hospital (part of the First Defendant's trust) (D1) as she suffered from systemic lupus which can affect the development of the baby.

On attending for a further scan on 12/02/07, she was sadly informed that her baby had died and that if she did not miscarry spontaneously she would need to be admitted to hospital for a procedure to remove it.

Mrs Connolly believes that a soul is created on conception and therefore it was very important to her that she offer her baby a Catholic burial.   Mrs Connolly was very upset about the miscarriage and spoke in detail to various people at the hospital about her wish to bury the baby. In addition she was worried that her systemic lupus may have caused the miscarriage and she therefore requested genetic testing of the baby before it was buried.  She agreed to pay privately for these tests and was told that her baby would be sent to the Northwick Park Hospital so that the tests could be carried out.

Mrs Connolly returned to the hospital for her test results on 27/03/07.  However, her Consultant said he was very sorry to report that her baby had been accidently disposed of. 

Mrs Connolly was devastated and she spent the following day on the telephone to the hospital.  Further searches of the theatre fridge led to the baby being discovered and Mrs Connolly was told that it would be sent to Northwick Park for testing immediately.

About 3 weeks later Mrs Connolly telephoned the laboratory for an update only to be told that her baby had been thrown away as it was too degraded to test.

Following this Mrs Connolly suffered from a Major Depressive Episode.

The Legal Case

Initially there was a factual dispute between the two hospitals. D1 said the baby was sent on 27/03/07 and that they told D2 that the baby must be sent back to them as Mrs Connolly wanted to bury it.  D2 stated that the baby was not received at their hospital until the 16/04/07 and in addition that they were not told that the baby should be returned.

D1 admitted liability but denied that its action had caused any injury to Mrs Connolly.  D2 failed to respond to the Claim at all.

The Medical Evidence

Mrs Connolly was examined by a Consultant Psychiatrist and he said that she had suffered a very serious adverse reaction following the miscarriage made worse by the Defendant's loss of the baby.

 

The Settlement

Mrs Connolly made an offer to settle in the sum of £8,750 and this was accepted by the Defendants.  The offer was to compensate her for the psychological suffering she endured as a consequence of both hospitals' negligence.

Costs

Mrs Connolly entered into a "no win, no fee" agreement with us and her costs were paid by the Hospital.