29/09/2010 10:54 BST | Updated 22/05/2015 06:12 BST

Forceps Delivery Leaves Baby Brain-Damaged And Blind In One Eye

An NHS trust has apologised to a family after a newborn baby was left brain-damaged and blind in one eye following a forceps delivery.

Emma Portogallo, 22, and her partner Daniel Cutillo, 23 are seeking compensation from the NHS after their son's botched delivery at Scunthorpe General Hospital.

After enduring a long labour, staff attempted to deliver Xavier with a ventouse suction cup. When the ventouse method failed after eight attempts - despite guidelines stating the method should not be attempted more than three times - Ms Portogallo was taken to an operation theatre and given an epidural. Forceps were then used to deliver Xavier, who was born with his eyeball hanging out of its socket and resting on his cheek.

Miss Portogallo says staff did not tell her what was happening or about any of the associated risks of the procedure.

Her lawyers, Russell Jones and Walker, said Miss Portogallo felt 'severe tugging' as doctors tried to deliver her baby using forceps.

Just hours after his birth, Xavier was admitted to Sheffield Children's Hospital Foundation NHS Trust where emergency surgery was performed on his eye. It was then discovered he also had a fractured skull and bleeding on the brain.

Miss Portogallo said of her son's birth : 'My son will have to live with the consequences of this for the rest of his life. The whole experience has been extremely traumatic for both me and Xavier's father Daniel; we've been left physically and emotionally traumatised. We don't know yet if he will ever be able to see out of his left eye and he could also be brain damaged. We have to wait and see. Having a baby is meant to be one of the happiest days of your life but for us it was a complete nightmare.'

Their lawyer, James Bell, a partner at Russell Jones and Walker, said the couple are seeking compensation to cover future medical costs.

He said: 'Doctors failed to inform Emma of their treatment plan and failed to obtain consent for a forceps delivery. Emma was made to sign a consent form agreeing to a forceps delivery after the birth whilst she was in the recovery room in a state of shock. This is completely unacceptable practice. My clients were treated appallingly by the NHS trust concerned who have still not said what steps are being taken to discipline or re-educate the doctor who delivered Xavier. Such action has to be taken if the public are going to have confidence in NHS maternity services. It's no good just closing ranks and hoping that it won't happen again.'

A spokesperson for Northern Lincolnshire and Goole Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust said a full investigation and review had been carried out: 'A number of changes to policy and practice have been implemented to ensure any risk of the circumstances being repeated are minimised. In particular, staff training has been extended and increased in frequency.

'We are extremely sorry for the distress caused to the family and would reiterate that our priority remains the safety of all women and babies at Scunthorpe General Hospital's Maternity Services.'