Mum in childbirth left with brain injury after hospital gives her wrong anaesthetic

Lucy Cookson with her daughter Millie. . Picture: Ross Parry Agency
Lucy Cookson with her daughter Millie. . Picture: Ross Parry Agency

A WOMAN left unable to walk or talk after a medical blunder in childbirth has been awarded a “substantial” settlement which will help to provide her care for life.

Lucy Cookson suffered a catastrophic brain injury after she was rushed to theatre with a haemorrhage following the birth of her daughter Millie.

The 25-year-old, who lost six pints of blood on New Year’s Eve 2013, underwent surgery and was given a spinal anaesthetic instead of a general anaesthetic.

She suffered a cardiac arrest during the procedure at Pinderfield’s Hospital in Wakefield, which starved her brain of oxygen and sent her into a coma.

Despite improvements, she is still unable to walk or talk properly and relies on family and carers for help and support for everyday tasks.

Her husband Adam, of Wakefield, and her parents Bev and Andrew Schofield were left “heartbroken” at what had happened to Lucy.

Mrs Schofield said: “As a family we are still shell-shocked and heartbroken at what has happened to Lucy.

“We are still trying to come to terms with what the future holds for Lucy and the rest of the family.

“Lucy was so excited about the prospect of being a mother and they both looked forward to being parents for the first time. “Millie and Lucy have a close and loving relationship, but it is heartbreaking that Lucy can’t do the things that she would have done with Millie.”

Mrs Schofield added: “To know that mistakes after Millie’s birth and if the complications had been managed properly that Lucy would have avoided the damage, is devastating.”

Ms Cookson’s condition improved since lapsing into a coma shortly after her baby girl’s birth and by the end of January 2014, she had started to move her head and right arm.

Later that year she started to vocalise and more recently her therapists believe that she has started to consistently respond to questions.

But a “serious untoward incident report” conducted by the hospital after the incident declared the severity of her care as causing “very severe harm”.

Mid-Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust admitted there was a failure to appreciate her cardiovascular instability and that a general anaesthetic should have been used during her procedure.

The Trust also admitted that Ms Cookson was not monitored correctly during her pregnancy and that there was a lack of senior staff involvement when she suffered the post-partum haemorrhage.

Mrs Schofield said: “Lucy spends four days a week at home and will come home permanently when the house is adapted and live with us and Millie.

“It’s hard not to be angry about the findings of the Trust’s internal investigation as it is clear more could have been done to prevent the brain damage she suffered.”

Personal injury law firm, Irwin Mitchell, secured a lifetime care and rehabilitation package from the Trust.

The settlement came after a hearing at Leeds High Court today, which will provide her with the funds needed for her long-term care.

The settlement includes a lump sum and annual payments for the rest of Lucy’s life.

Irwin Mitchell, partner and expert medical negligence lawyer, Rachelle Mahapatra, said: “This is a truly tragic case that has left a young mum with devastating, permanent brain damage.

“This has also had a huge effect on the rest of her family, her husband Adam and her parents and sister.

“We are glad to have secured Lucy a substantial settlement from the Trust that will provide for her immediate and future needs, including providing her with access to specialist care and rehabilitation services to help with any possible recovery and provide the best quality of life possible.”