Intended for healthcare professionals


Woman in labour who was told not to come to hospital wins damages

BMJ 2017; 359 doi: (Published 07 December 2017) Cite this as: BMJ 2017;359:j5712
  1. Clare Dyer
  1. The BMJ

The NHS will pay out millions of pounds in damages because a midwife told a mother whose waters had broken not to come to the hospital immediately.

A High Court judge has ruled that negligence by Royal Bolton Hospital NHS Foundation Trust caused Ellen Welsby’s son Thomas to suffer a serious brain injury at his birth in March 2008, leaving him with cerebral palsy.1 Damages have not yet been finalised but typical payouts for cerebral palsy run into millions of pounds. In March 2017 a 10 year old girl received £9.3 million (€10.56m; $12.45m).

In a telephone call to the hospital at 4 am on 26 March, Welsby, expecting her first child, told a midwife that her waters …

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