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A 24 year old woman has received £85,000 in compensation after a swab was left inside her following a caesarean section in February 2008. The swab became adhered to her small bowel, which required a partial bowel resection and formation of a stoma some four months post-caesarean.

On 4 February 2008, the woman underwent a caesarean section. Following the operation, she suffered stomach pains, felt bloated and did not open her bowels for three days. She also had a temperature and it was recorded that her white blood cell count, which had been high during her pregnancy, had remained slightly high.

She was discharged home on 8 February 2008. Following her discharge, she continued to suffer with stomach pain, and was unable to straighten her back. She was also unable to retain any food, and vomited a few hours after eating.

She attended her GP a week later and was diagnosed with a major puerperal infection (infection following childbirth) and was prescribed medication.

The following day, she continued to be in a lot of pain, was suffering from breathlessness and was sweating profusely. She attended accident and emergency and was admitted as an inpatient but was discharged two days later with a course of antibiotics in case of infection.

On 4 June 2008 she reported to her GP that she had vomited blood twice, was experiencing chest pain and shortness of breath. The GP referred her to accident and emergency. Following examination she underwent a chest x-ray, an abdominal x-ray and an ultrasound scan. There was evidence of a retained foreign body, noted as a likely swab, following review of the abdominal x-ray. The impression of the doctor examining the woman was that she had developed a probable intra-abdominal abscess around a foreign body and was possibly suffering from sepsis. The woman was admitted for an urgent surgical review.

She underwent a surgical review on 5 June 2008, and was told she required a laparotomy and wash out to remove the retained foreign body. She had the operation on the same day. The woman also required a small bowel resection as a result of the infection, and had to have a colostomy bag for four months.

She had to be kept on the critical care unit until 7 June 2008, following which she was transferred to a ward.

Following the hospital negligence, she has been left with an additional large laparotomy scar on her abdomen after the stoma was reversed and ongoing lower abdominal pain. She continues to suffer with dyspareunia (painful sexual intercourse) associated with lower abdominal pain. She has also been diagnosed as suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and has suffered an adjustment disorder with mixed anxiety and a depressed mood following her injury, for which she requires psychological treatment.

Boyes Turner's medical negligence team wrote to the Trust on behalf of the woman and liability was admitted early in the case. A settlement figure of £85,000 was secured by our legal team which covered her physical and psychological injuries, the care and assistance required for her newborn son and substantial loss of earnings. There were no costs to the client in bringing this claim.