JRM (by his father and litigation friend TRM) v King's College Hospital Foundation Trust  EWHC 1913 (QB)
Clinical negligence- duty of care – liability – birth defect
Queen’s Bench Division
1 August 2017
The defendant NHS Trust has been liable for the injuries caused to JRM, the claimant’s son, when the obstetrician had failed to identify the correct position of JRM prior to delivery, and then wrongly placed forceps on JRM and vigorously pulled JRM causing an acute spinal cord injury resulting in four limb paralysis.
The claimant was the father of an eight-year-old boy, JRM. In February 2009, JRM was born at the defendant NHS Trust's hospital. His mother had gone into labour when the pregnancy had been at 29 weeks. JRM's twin brother died two weeks after the delivery. JRM, whilst being delivered by forceps suffered an acute spinal cord injury which resulted in four limb paralysis. JRM only had reflex movements in his arms and legs.
The claimant alleged that there was a delay in the delivery, failure to note the elevated CRP (C-Reactive Protein) on the mother’s blood test result and that she was producing offensive liquor. It was also alleged that the obstetrician negligently used the forceps when JRM was in the occipito-lateral (OL position).
It was agreed by both parties that there were two possible causes of the injury: either that the forceps were used negligently in the OL position or that the injury was caused by an embolus. The trust maintained that the mother had been in an occiput anterior (OA position).
The court found that the mother had been in the OL position and it followed that the injury JRM had sustained was consistent with the use of excessive force and negligent use of forceps. Had the obstetrician examined the mother properly, he would have found that JRM had been in the OL position. The bruising to the JRM’s face, head and body and the hospital's records was used as evidence in support.