Baby born with brain damage after health board 'failed' to provide care

Watchdog ordered NHS Highland to apologise and carry out recommendations made.

Baby born with brain damage after NHS Highland ‘failed’ to provide care: SPSO iStock

NHS Highland has been ordered to apologise after a new born baby suffered brain damage while in the health board’s care.

A watchdog investigated complaints made by the child’s parents over the level of care and treatment received by the mother, dubbed A to protect her identity.

A – who was pregnant at the time – and her partner, C, alleged that initially, when she first began to experience abdominal discomfort, she was told by her local hospital to visit the health board’s main regional hospital.

The couple made the three-hour trip in their car, and A was admitted overnight, before being discharged the following day.

Her waters broke a week later – after being told that an ambulance was not required, the pair made the three-hour drive again.

Later that afternoon, doctors gave A and C a number of options: continue with natural labour, attempt a process of augmentation (helping along a labour that’s not progressing as it should), or an immediate C-section.

They agreed to a C-section. Once born, however, their baby had to be resuscitated.

Three days later, a scan of the child’s brain revealed they had suffered brain damage which could lead to learning difficulties.

In a report, the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman (SPSO) said NHS Highland had failed to provide reasonable care to the pregnant woman and her unborn child.

It took independent advice from a neonatal consultant and it also found that during both admissions, the board failed to fulfil their obligations under “duty of candour”.

SPSO said the health board should apologise and carry out a series of recommended actions to improve care.

A spokesperson for NHS Highland said: “We have fully accepted the recommendations in the report from the SPSO and actions are being implemented.

“Pam Dudek, our chief executive, has written to the family to apologise.”

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