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Legal battle looms after birth complications in Rockhampton

A PERSON'S first pregnancy is meant to be full of joy and anticipation, but for one couple the process has reportedly ended in brain damage, a hospital review and likely legal action.

One of the four families whose child-birth complications have been included in an independent review of Rockhampton Hospital's maternity unit has sought legal advice from law firm Maurice and Blackburn.

Details from the firm allege the couple's baby, who is suspected to have cerebral palsy following a delivery at Rockhampton Hospital, was born not moving or breathing on August 8 last year.

The birth reportedly followed several prior trips to the hospital as the mother had high blood pressure, protein in her urine and was "puffy".

On August 3, it was discovered the baby wasn't moving very much and the decision was made to induce the birth.

The mother was reportedly sent home at 2am and on August 8 eventually gave birth to a baby girl, who did not breathe on her own for 45 minutes and had to be resuscitated.

Maurice Blackburn's medical negligence principal Sarah Atkinson said the family approached the practice for legal representation before the Rockhampton hospital began its investigations and review.

"The family felt strongly enough to seek legal advice and while we are still investigating the case and obtaining specialist reports on the baby's medical condition, we can't comment about what happened," she said.

"However at Maurice Blackburn we often find the root cause of many medical legal cases is failed hospital processes and understaffing.

"At this stage this legal action should in no way be seen as a criticism of any hospital staff, we just want to get to the bottom of what happened and prevent it from happening again."

The baby girl was flown to Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital a day after her birth, where Brisbane specialists placed her in the Intensive Care Unit and "cooled" her for three days before warming her back up.

Cooling is the practice of placing babies on cold matts in order to reduce cell death and any brain injury that may have occured at birth.

The baby also started having seizures.

Brain scans were performed confirming the baby had suffered brain damage, and specialists reportedly advised this had affected the baby's posture.

Ms Atkinson said the firm's interest was to ensure the family have the financial means to provide for their child's ongoing care.

Meanwhile, Central Queensland Hospital and Health Service chief executive Len Richards said he supported the right of these families to engage legal representation.

"The independent review will identify any improvements that can be made and we will work with the families involved to let them know the findings," he said.

"Our aim is to build the best possible health-care service for Central Queenslanders."

About the review:

There were four serious incidents during child births at the Rockhampton Hospital in the last 12 months

One baby has died

Three babies have suffered serious injuries

The babies were transferred to Brisbane specialists due to the seriousness of injuries

Each case was investigated

Topics:  legal action, review, rockhampton hospital



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