Obstetric negligence claims solicitors

Our specialist obstetric negligence claim solicitors have helped many mothers claim compensation after they have sustained an injury during or shortly after giving birth through medical negligence.

 

Obstetric negligence claim

We act for mothers who have suffered undiagnosed or incorrectly repaired perineal tears involving the anal sphincter, for mothers who have suffered post partum haemorrhage, for mothers who have experienced anaesthetic awareness during delivery, and for mothers who have suffered nerve injury during delivery. 

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£375,000 compensation for delayed treatment for birth injury

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Admission of liability secured for young woman following the death of her baby

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£200,000 compensation recovered following inappropriate repair of a perineal tear

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Types of obstetric negligence

Our specialist obstetric negligence claim solicitors have helped many mothers claim compensation after they have sustained a birth injury through medical negligence. Below are just a few of the different birth injury types that we have dealt with...

Vaginal/Perineal tear

Mothers who have suffered vaginal / perineal tears which involve the anal sphincter (3rd and 4th degree tears) and whose tears have either not been properly diagnosed or properly repaired can and do suffer life long complications of faecal incontinence and pain. Generally it is not the tears themselves which give rise to a medical negligence claim but the failure to recognize that the tear involves the anal sphincter and so the failure to properly and promptly repair the tear. The mother tends to experience faecal incontinence and is reassured this is to be expected after delivery. However the problems do not improve and by the time the extent of the injury is recognized, while secondary repair can be performed, the results are usually not as good as if the injury had been properly repaired shortly after delivery.

The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists has estimated that over three quarters of women who have a vaginal delivery will sustain some degree of perineal tear. Of these women, over half will require some kind of stitching or surgical repair. Whilst sustaining such a tear can be a recognised complication of a vaginal delivery, an inadequate repair of the tear or a failure to recognise the severity of the tear, can be negligent.

These tears can differ in severity, and are categorised as 1st, 2nd, 3rd or 4th degree tears.

  • 1st degree tear – a minor often superficial tear that involves the soft skin of the perineum and tissues around the opening of the vagina. They are often so small that they do not require stitching.
  • 2nd degree tear – these tend to penetrate the tissues to a deeper level into the muscles. These tears need to be stitched closed layer by layer.
  • 3rd degree tear –a tear in the vaginal tissue, perineal skin, and perineal muscles that extends into the anal sphincter.
  • 4th degree tear – involves both the internal and external anal sphincter, and can penetrate to the tissue beneath it.

If a serious perineal tear is not diagnosed and treated appropriately, then it can cause long term problems, including severe pain, a loss of bowel control and painful sexual intercourse. Understandably, such severe symptoms can also result in a psychological injury.

Episiotomy

An episiotomy is a cut that is made to allow easier delivery of the baby. Claims for episiotomy negligence compensation are brought when they are not performed correctly, or are inadequately repaired. An inadequate repair can have similar complications to those experienced when there is a delay in diagnosis and repair of a third or fourth degree tear.

Caesarean complications

Usually negligence claims arising from caesarean complications involve retained products of conception (the placenta is not fully removed) or if swabs used to clear blood and prevent bleeding are left in the uterus. Retained products of conception and swabs if left inside the body can result in infection and even septicaemia (blood poisoning).

Sometimes injury can be caused to the bladder or bowel during caesarean section with consequential problems and requirement for further surgery.

Post partum haemorrhage

Failure to ensure the uterus properly contracts after delivery can result in uncontrollable blood loss, requirement for hysterectomy, and, in the most severe cases brain damage.

Maternal/Gestational diabetes

Gestational diabetes can result in birth defects to the child, and the baby can also grow to a large size, which in turn can lead to problems at the time of the delivery, like shoulder dystocia or Erb's Palsy.

Cases involving this condition are often based on a failure of the midwifery or obstetric staff to recognise the symptoms of the condition or to carry out the necessary screening tests, which mean the condition is not managed appropriately during the pregnancy.

Pre-eclampsia

Pre-eclampsia is a serious condition that can lead to both the death of the mother and baby in extreme cases. It is not entirely clear what causes the problem, but it is thought to be related to a defect with the placenta.

The condition is diagnosed with regular blood pressure checks and urine samples being taken. A classic symptom is excessive swelling of the hands, fingers and/or ankles. The only cure for the condition is to deliver the baby.

Uterine rupture

Uterine rupture can occur during some labours, and is often seen where labour has been induced but not monitored appropriately. The condition can put the mother at risk of blood loss and can in extreme cases, require a hysterectomy to be performed.

I am overwhelmed by the outcome in terms of the monetary value and know I should consider it as a near a 'sorry' as I am likely to get from the hospital. It will be nice to start the process of closure on the whole issue now and look towards the future for us as a family. 

Mrs T, Surrey 

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