Resuscitation treatment following premature delivery

Aspinall v Secretary of State for Health [2014] EWHC 1217 (QB) is a recent English decision grappling with allegations of negligence in the early treatment of a child born at 32 weeks gestation.

The claimant’s allegations of breach of duty of care failed. Further, the claimant was unable to prove that the alleged breaches of duty were causative of the relevant damage. The Court said at [55] that it was highly likely the Claimant suffered from hypoxic ischemia prior to birth and that his poor condition at the time of delivery was due in part to the fact that he had suffered foetal embarrassment prior to delivery, clearly demonstrated by the poor condition of the placenta, his low heart rate at birth and his low body weight.

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