Labour ward staff 'did everything in their power to ensure a smooth delivery' Tuen Mun Hospital staff should not be held accountable for the difficult birth of a girl who was left severely disabled after being starved of oxygen in the lead-up to her birth, a judge ruled yesterday. Mr Justice Azizul Suffiad, sitting in the Court of First Instance, dismissed the bid by Chum Oi-wa, 41, to hold the Hospital Authority liable for the abnormal birth of her severely disabled daughter Cheng Wai-yi, now five. He found the hospital, its staff and Kelvin Kong Sai-wah, who was on duty in the labour ward, had done everything in their power to ensure a smooth delivery on September 25, 1998. The court heard that when Ms Chum gave birth by an emergency caesarean section at 8.18pm, her baby was not breathing. After being resuscitated with oxygen six minutes after birth, Wai-yi was placed in neo-natal care while her mother was rushed to the intensive care unit. Wai-yi has since been diagnosed with spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy, which was caused by oxygen starvation to the foetus. Ms Chum's case relied on an expert report which found her baby had sustained the damage in the last hour of her mother's pregnancy and that if she was born before 7.50pm, 'she would not have the brain damage'. The court heard Ms Chum suffered from a rare condition called placental abruption, which occurs when the placenta becomes separated from the cervix, severely limiting the flow of oxygen-rich blood to the baby. Ms Chum's case relied on the fact that placental abruption was gradual while the hospital believed it was a sudden development that was unpredictable and could not be prevented. The court heard Ms Chum's complaint of negligence was limited to the failure to diagnose placental abruption earlier than it was. This delay was said to result in a failure to intervene earlier. But in reaching his decision yesterday, Mr Justice Suffiad had to weigh the versions given by Ms Chum, the nurses, midwives and Dr Kong. He found the staff had properly diagnosed and managed Ms Chum's labour, and that the onset of placental abruption was sudden and immediate. 'I am satisfied that on all the evidence and the facts found by me, that it was a concealed [placental abruption],' he said. He also found medical staff had properly diagnosed the mother's placental abruption after assessing the evidence of expert witnesses. Mr Justice Suffiad added there were many unsatisfactory elements to Ms Chum's testimony from the witness stand which he found at odds with her earlier written statements.