A British couple has filed suit against England’s National Health Service, arguing that mistakes made by a birth team at University Hospital Coventry allowed their child to suffer severe brain damage. According to Fox News, an internal investigation at the hospital found evidence that the facility’s staff had failed to “recognize and respond” to the child’s abnormal fetal heart rate signals.

British Family Files Cerebral Palsy Lawsuit

The baby, Iszak Derby, who is now just four months old, has been diagnosed with cerebral palsy, epilepsy, hearing impairments and a sight problem. Attorneys for the family say that nurses and doctors at University Hospital Coventry allowed Iszak to languish without oxygen.

Doctor Checking Infants Heart

Hospital Failed To Act On Warning Signs, Couple Claims

In court documents, the family says that their child was born via an emergency cesarean section at 6:20 p.m. on June 27, 2018, just four days before his due date. In prenatal tests, doctors had noted on two prior occasions that little Iszak displayed reduced fetal movements. Following extensive consultations, the couple agreed to induce labor.

The mother was then transferred to the hospital’s labor ward, where her water broke around 12:15 a.m. She was administered syntocinon – a synthetic version of oxytocin, a hormone that triggers contractions. At the time, a hospitalist noted that the baby’s heart rate was normal.

Six hours later, something appeared to have gone wrong. A doctor, recording their observations in medical records, noted that the child’s cardiotocography (CTG) reading was “suspicious.” The mother’s syntocinon dose was increased as a result to speed up the labor. But the baby’s heart rate had been dangerously low for too long.

Around 25 minutes later, hospital staff triggered an emergency buzzer. The next entry in the medical record comes at 2:30 p.m., when a nurse wrote to doctors, noting the troubling CTG reading, to say that “intervention is required.”

An investigation of the case found that the doctor managing the birth could not remember this note, and was “elsewhere on the labor ward at that time.”

Infant’s Condition Declines Over Course Of Hours

Iszak’s heart rate continued to decline over the course of the day, medical records show. At 5:10 p.m., a nurse wrote that the child’s heart rate was “pathological.” About 30 minutes later, a midwife interrupted a medical staff meeting to ask for a review of the family’s case.

The child was only delivered, via an emergency c-section, thirty minutes after that. Hospital staff spent 13 minutes attempting to resuscitate Iszak. He spent the next six days in a ventilator.

Couple Hopes To Help Other Families

“We still cannot really believe what has happened to our family,” says Alice Derby, the child’s mother. “It is so difficult to try and describe the last few months. We are not sure what the future holds as we are still waiting to hear about the extent of Iszak’s injuries and how they will affect him. What is certain though is that we will give him all the love and care we can.”

An investigation conducted by University Hospitals Coventry and the Warwickshire NHS Trust found that the hospital had committed “a failure to recognize and respond to abnormalities.”

“It is hard not to feel angry about what has happened to our family,” according to Kyza, Iszak’s father. “We now want answers to the many questions we have about the care Alice and Iszak received and if more should have been done to prevent my boy’s injuries. We just want to find out more so hopefully other families don’t have to go through what we have.”