Mum Left With Severe Brain Damage After Hospital Gave Her 32 TIMES The Normal Dose Of Labour-Inducing Drug

04/05/2012 11:49 | Updated 22 May 2015
Mum Nicola Crelling left with severe brain damage after being given 32 times normal dose of labour-inducing drugCaters
A young mum suffered severe brain damage after she was given 32 TIMES the normal dose of a labour-inducing drug after her baby died inside her.

The hospital blunder put seven months' pregnant Nicola Crelling into a coma, a court heard.

She is likely to receive several million pounds in damages, but Nicola's husband, Steven, said: "No amount of money will bring her back but the damages will give her the best life as humanely possible."

Nicola, who was 27 at the time and already had three children, was told by doctors that her fourth child had died in the womb.

Medics at West Cumberland Hospital, Whitehaven, Cumbria, gave the mum 2,000 micrograms of misoprostol, a drug designed for treating ulcers, to induce labour and retrieve the foetus.

But Nicola suffered a ruptured uterus and a heart attack as fluid from her womb entered her bloodstream starving her brain of oxygen.


A High Court judge in Preston, Lancashire, heard that Nicola is now so severely brain damaged she cannot walk, talk or do anything for herself. She will need full-time care for the rest of her life.


The judge approved interim damages of £750,000 after hearing the NHS trust which runs the hospital had admitted it was medically negligent, though the final damages award is expected to run into several millions.

After the High Court hearing the family's lawyer revealed the makers of misoprostol had warned of its dangers to pregnant women in 2001 – three years before Nicola's catastrophic experience.

Her husband, Steven, 48, who gave up his job as a fitter at Sellafield power station to care for his wife, told his local paper: "We were just starting to get on our feet and have family holidays and then this tragedy happened.

"The hardest part is every time I walk into the room and I see her I start to think of what she was like.

"I'll hear a bit of music that takes me back and then I'm in a heap, filling up, I worshipped the ground she walked on and always will."

He recalled how doctors had told he and his wife that their unborn baby - who they named Harry - had died.

"Nicola's mum had asked about a Caesarean section but they said no and gave us options.

"They said they could leave her to go full-term, she could go home for 48 hours to think about it, or they could induce the labour straight away, so that's what Nicola agreed to."

Over nine hours Nicola was given three doses of misoprostol and Steven said he remembers the moment.

"I heard a whooshing and told the midwife Nicola's waters had broken and she gave me a strange look," he said.

"As I stood there watching Nicola, it was like watching somebody get an electric shock, she twisted her hands and she just went purple, then all hell broke loose.

"My feeling is that they (the hospital) were wanting her in and out as fast as possible, I believe the reason she had those tablets was that they cost eight pence each while the pessaries they could have used cost £8 each."

What a tragic waste!

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