Hull City footballer Jake Livermore and his girlfriend are suing a medic at a leading private hospital over the “devastating” death of their newborn son shortly after his birth.
Mr Livermore and Danielle Del-Giudice say their son Jake Junior died after a ‘catalogue of errors’ at London’s Portland Hospital which led to him suffering injuries including a brain haemorrhage and skull fractures.
The couple, who lost their baby in May 2014, said their pleas that Miss Del-Giudice be given a caesarean early were ignored. Obstetrician Eleni Mavrides also allegedly failed to review the baby for 35 minutes, despite concerns about his heart.
After instructing law firm Irwin Mitchell to investigate the care provided by Miss Mavrides, they have now launched a civil medical negligence claim against her and say her lawyers have admitted liability.
The footballer, 25, was censured by the Football Association for taking cocaine in the aftermath of the tragedy, but spared a ban after his personal situation was taken into account.
He and Miss Del-Giudice, 30, claim staff at the Portland Hospital insisted Jake Junior was not born alive – even though the couple are adamant they heard him cry.
The parents refused to believe he was stillborn and pushed for an inquest. A coroner subsequently ruled the boy was born alive ‘in very poor condition’ and pronounced dead around half an hour later.
According to their lawyers at Irwin Mitchell, Miss Del-Giudice was admitted to hospital on May 18, 2014, and advised by Miss Mavrides that she should have a normal delivery and only have a C-section if there were any complications during her labour.
It is alleged that her labour was managed appropriately until 10.30pm when the baby’s heart beat became irregular, and that a review 40 minutes later failed to consider blood sampling to decide if it was safe to continue as planned or whether it would be more appropriate to deliver by C-section.
Irwin Mitchell say that despite the baby’s irregular heartbeat a decision was made to continue but after two failed attempts to deliver the baby using forceps the C-section was carried out.
Baby Jake Junior was born minutes later at 1am but was in a poor condition and unresponsive. He died 39 minutes later after several resuscitation attempts.
An inquest later concluded that had Jake Junior been delivered earlier at or before 11.30pm by emergency caesarean the tragedy would have been avoided.
Miss Del-Giudice said: “Words cannot explain what we have been through in losing a perfectly healthy child because of mistakes made by medical staff during the birth.
“Knowing that people who I trusted to care for me and my baby and to ensure that we were safe throughout my labour, did not pick up the warning signs that Jake Junior was in distress is hard for me to accept.
“Even though an investigation has taken place at the Portland Hospital into Jake Junior’s death and the care that was provided to us last year, I still feel that not enough has been done to ensure that another family does not go through the horrific ordeal my family has.
“We have not even received any sort of apology from the consultant who is still practising and it raises questions with us as to whether lessons are truly being learned.”
Mr Livermore said: “It’s been incredibly tough over the past 17 months and I’m so thankful for the overwhelming support I have had from my family and friends, the fans and my teammates. I will be forever grateful for the faith they have shown in me.”
Lauren Hurney, a specialist medical negligence lawyer at Irwin Mitchell, said: “This is a heart-breaking case that had devastating consequences for a young couple very much looking forward to welcoming home their first child.
“We see cases every day from all across the country where mistakes made during births have had devastating consequences and it is crucial that lessons are learned from these to improve care in future.”
A hospital spokesman said: “We have carefully noted the recommendations made during the inquest. Our policies, processes and training have been fully reviewed and we have taken appropriate action where recommended.”
He added: “We extend our deepest sympathy to Mr Livermore, Miss Del Giudice and their family.”
The Medical Defence Union, for Ms Mavrides, said she couldn’t comment due to patient confidentiality.