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Written by Susan Brown

Boyes Turner’s medical negligence lawyers secured an £85,000 compensation settlement for a young woman who suffered severe infection, bowel injury needing surgery and a temporary stoma, and psychological injury after a swab was left inside her following a caesarean section.

Our client began to suffer stomach pains after her caesarean section operation. She felt bloated and did not open her bowels for three days. She had a temperature and it was recorded that her white blood cell count, which had been high during her pregnancy, had remained slightly high ( a sign of inflammation or infection). She continued to suffer from stomach pains after her discharge from hospital. She was unable to straighten her back. She couldn’t retain any food and vomited a few hours after eating. She attended her GP a week later. The GP diagnosed a major puerperal infection (infection following childbirth) and prescribed medication.

The next day she was still in pain and experienced breathlessness and profuse sweating. She went to A&E and was admitted as an inpatient but was discharged two days later with a course of antibiotics in case of infection.

Four months after the caesarean, our client went to see her GP and reported that she had vomited blood twice and was experiencing chest pain and shortness of breath. The GP referred her to A&E. Following examination at A&E she was given a chest x-ray, an abdominal x-ray and an ultrasound scan. The abdominal x-ray revealed evidence of a retained foreign body, noted as probably a swab. The doctor noted that she had developed what was thought to be an intra-abdominal abscess around a foreign body and was possibly suffering from sepsis. She was admitted to hospital for urgent surgical review.

At surgical review the next day she was told that she needed a laparotomy (abdominal operation) and wash out to remove the retained foreign body. She had the operation the same day. She also needed a small bowel resection (operation to remove part of the bowel) and a colostomy bag for four months, as a result of the infection. Following surgery she remained in the critical care unit, and was then transferred to a ward.

As a result of the hospital’s negligence, our client has additional scarring on her abdomen, and suffers  dyspareunia (painful sexual intercourse) associated with lower abdominal pain. She has been diagnosed as suffering from psychological injuries including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and an adjustment disorder with anxiety and depression. She requires psychological treatment.

Our medical negligence lawyers notified the hospital of our client’s claim and the hospital admitted liability (fault) for our client’s injury. We secured a settlement of £85,000 which included compensation for our client’s injuries, the cost of additional care for her newborn son and her loss of earnings.