Giving birth should be one of the happiest times in a young mother’s life. Sadly, it doesn’t always work out that way. Our Clinical and Medical Negligence lawyers help clients who have suffered traumatic experiences during their pregnancy, labour, delivery and the postnatal period.
Sarah* contacted Blake Morgan Injury Group, and Patricia Wakeford, Legal Director in the clinical negligence team managed her claim. Patricia was a midwife previously so understood the implications of what happened and what the midwife should have done to ensure safe delivery of the placenta.
Sarah attended hospital to give birth to her third baby, the baby was delivered safely and given to her. The midwife then began to push on Sarah’s stomach and pulled the umbilical cord whilst trying to deliver the placenta.
This caused Sarah extreme pain to the point where she feared for her life. When she complained of pain, the midwife administered an injection into Sarah’s leg and continued pushing her stomach and pulling the umbilical cord. This injection causes the uterus to contract. Once contracted, steady controlled cord traction can be used to deliver the placenta safely. Unfortunately, the midwife did not wait for a contraction. The pain continued to increase and Sarah pleaded for the midwife to stop, but she continued. Suddenly, Sarah felt something between her legs. She later realised that this was her uterus.
The midwife raised the alarm and shortly afterwards the room was filled with doctors who rushed Sarah to theatre to replace her uterus. Sarah lost three litres of blood and went into shock. She needed a blood transfusion. A uterine inversion causes intense pain, blood loss and shock. In this case, mismanagement of the delivery of the placenta led to these complications.
Sarah was left traumatised and confused about what had happened to her. She was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. She has had trouble sleeping, had nightmares and battles with feelings of depression. She struggled to discuss what had happened without her emotions taking over and being unable to continue speaking as she is overcome by what could have happened if she had lost her life and left her children without their mum. She remains haunted by the experience and could not risk going through another pregnancy.
The hospital denied liability initially on the basis that Sarah had not complained of undue pain. The midwifery expert appointed by Blake Morgan was highly supportive of Sarah’s case and could not understand why the hospital records appeared to contradict the trust case. She concluded that the care Sarah received fell below the acceptable, reasonable and responsible standard in four different areas. These related to the midwife’s failure to use reasonable traction to deliver the placenta and her failure to stop what she was doing when Sarah expressed the excruciating level of pain that she was in.
Sarah’s case was settled in August 2019 for £20,000 following an offer from the hospital and subsequent negotiations. This will enable Sarah to begin to move on from the trauma as best she can and focus on her three children.
* Names have been changed in this article to protect client confidentiality.
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