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Midwife negligence claims can be made for a variety of reasons, but if you or your child have suffered unnecessarily as a result of such negligence, you will need to get expert medical negligence advice from a specialist solicitor if your case is to be successful.
Any situation where the actions or inactions of your midwife during pregnancy, labour or post birth, results in unnecessary harm or distress to you or your child may give you the grounds to claim for midwife negligence compensation. The following situations represent some of the most common and serious scenarios where this applies.
Remember, this is not an exhaustive list – there may be other medical scenarios that entitle you to make a claim for midwife negligence. If you are unsure about whether your circumstances provide legal grounds for claiming compensation, you should seek expert advice from a solicitor at your earliest convenience.
Here at Blackwater Law medical negligence solicitors we have a wealth of expertise and knowledge in dealing with midwife negligence claims and other more general birth injury claims. Our team of solicitors advise and represent clients from across the country, and our reputation in the field of medical law is exceptional.
We are independently recognised by The Legal 500 for providing some of the very best legal advice and support in relation to medical negligence in the South East. You can be sure that you will get the very best advice and that your solicitor will fight to help you secure the maximum available compensation regarding your circumstances and the injuries to you or your baby.
Blackwater Law successfully represented the family of baby Blake in making a midwife negligence claim after the community midwife failed to notice a severe medical abnormality.
Even pregnancy without complications can be stressful and worrying enough for most families. Therefore, when problems arise as a result of negligent care by a midwife, we understand it can be truly devastating. Not only this, but we also understand that you may not be in a position to fund a compensation claim yourself.
That’s why when you claim for midwife negligence with Blackwater Law, your claim will be on a no win, no fee basis. This ensures minimal risk and complete peace of mind.
No win, no fee midwife negligence claims allow you to seek compensation without any financial risk to you.
The conditions outlined below give you an idea of the kinds of claims you may be able make should medical staff and your midwife in particular fail to provide you with suitable care.
Alternatively known as Obstetric Brachial Plexus Palsy, Erbs Palsy is when the baby sustains serious nerve damage during the birthing process when their shoulders become stuck following the emergence of the head. Key nerves in the brachial plexus are damaged as a result of the child’s position, leading to a potentially long-term physical disability and movement problems.
The child may require extensive physiotherapy sessions to alleviate symptoms, and may require support for the rest of their life. Where the birth injuries to your baby were caused by negligence on the part of a doctor, nurse of midwife you may be entitled to make an Erb’s Palsy compensation claim.
Cerebral palsy occurs when a baby suffers a brain injury. The injury can be caused in a number of ways, including the brain being starved of oxygen during the birthing process, through infection or if the baby suffers a severe head injury. However the injury is caused, it leads to brain and nerve damage resulting in disabilities associated with the control of movement and intellectual capacity.
The symptoms of cerebral palsy can vary greatly from child to child depending on the type and severity of cerebral palsy that they have. In some cases, it may only affect the lower body or just one side of the body.
Cerebral palsy is incurable, however physiotherapy sessions can help to restore some movement and reduce discomfort in less serious cases, and medication is available to reduce muscle stiffness. Again, the physical challenges faced by someone with cerebral palsy may cause them to develop associated psychological difficulties as they grow up. Also, the additional strain taken by working parts of the body to compensate for lack of movement in conventional areas can lead to associated conditions like arthritis.
Cerebral Palsy Compensation Claims can be made where the brain injury was caused by medical negligence on the part of your medical staff.
Following birth, your community midwife should identify symptoms that might be associated with cerebral palsy and organise for specialist assessment so as to provide a proper diagnosis.
Sometimes referred to as gestational diabetes, maternal diabetes must be identified and treated promptly by medical staff, otherwise serious complications can develop.
These complications include severe discomfort and stress on the part of the mother. However, they also include miscarriages or birth defects regarding the heart or brain of her baby. Such serious afflictions again raise the prospect of long term disability and developmental problems for the child.
Treatment is usually dependent on the results of regular check-ups, but insulin shots or specialist diabetes medication may be required in serious cases.
Ectopic pregnancies are those that take place outside of the womb. They occur most commonly in the fallopian tubes and are unfortunately always terminal for the baby. The mother too can sustain a great deal of pain, discomfort and harm if medical staff do not respond correctly – or if a misdiagnosis occurs.
These symptoms can include heavy vaginal bleeding, pain in the lower abdomen, shoulder-tip pain, constantly feeling faint and diarrhoea or pain when using the toilet.
Jaundice is fairly common in new-born babies and results from excess levels of bilirubin in their blood. This is because of an elevated red blood cell count resulting from the underdeveloped liver’s inability to adequately break them down. In the vast majority of cases, this is something that will correct itself in the days following birth.
In cases of Kernicterus however, extremely high levels of bilirubin are found in the baby’s blood – this condition is known as hyperbilirubinemia. There is a risk that it may cross the blood-brain barrier and cause brain damage or damage to the central nervous system.
Babies with jaundice should always be kept under close attention to ensure that they are not at risk of Kernicterus, and so that medical staff may act decisively to avoid some of the condition’s worst effects. These effects can extend to ineffective muscles, seizures and bilirubin encephalopathy – an abnormally small head and associated cognitive developmental problems.
Phototherapy may be required to transform the bilirubin in the baby’s blood so that the liver can more easily break it down. In other instances, a blood transfusion may be necessary.
The exact cause of pre-eclampsia is not well understood, but it is thought to be strongly linked to problems with the placenta during pregnancy. The condition manifests as elevated levels of protein in the mother’s blood (proteinuria). This can result in excessive fluid retention and subsequent swelling, severe headaches, vision problems, pain, dizziness and vomiting. It can also result in liver failure and problems with the lungs as well as blood clotting difficulties.
The only means of curing the condition is to deliver the baby, and treatment options during or thereafter are often restricted. However, mothers with pre-eclampsia may be admitted to hospital for close observation to ensure they do not develop full eclampsia; which can result in seizures and may be fatal. In the event these seizures do occur, magnesium sulphate injections may be necessary to quell the immediate danger to mother and baby.
Your midwife or doctor should be vigilant to the signs and symptoms of pre-eclampsia and, where it is diagnosed, your doctor and midwife should monitor the mother’s condition very closely. Where pre-eclampsia is misdiagnosed or your midwife and doctor fail to supervise you close enough – allowing the condition to develop unchecked – you may be entitled to make a pre-eclampsia compensation claim.
This can occur for a variety of reasons, including misdiagnosis of life-threatening conditions, excessive / improper use of force during delivery or improper administration of medication.
The results can clearly be devastating, and any instance where it can be shown that the actions of medical staff failed to reach the standards we expect from them could indicate that you have grounds to make a claim.
This condition denotes where the baby’s hip joint develops in such a manner that the thigh bone becomes unstable in its socket – and may become detached completely as a result. Ligaments are often stretched, and the condition can vary in terms of its severity. In later life it can lead to hip pain, developing a limp and painful or stiff joints.
Treatment can be relatively straightforward in the application of a Pavlik harness; a fabric splint that secures the baby’s limbs in position, allowing them to develop normally. In the event the harness does not work, or if the condition is subject to a delayed diagnosis, surgery may be necessary to put the hip back into its socket.
There are a number of additional injuries that can be inflicted upon the mother during the course of a delivery. Where the actions of medical staff or a midwife are not sufficient to prevent or effectively treat these injuries, a midwife negligence claim may be appropriate.
Birth injuries to the mother claims can relate to episiotomies (surgical cuts or incisions made to assist in delivering the baby), C-section deliveries or deliveries that use assistive devices such as a ventouse or forceps. Commonly, midwife negligence claims also relate to conditions that the mother develops during pregnancy which go unnoticed by a midwife.
If you’re unsure as to whether your circumstances and the actions of your midwife constitute a midwife negligence compensation claim, it is wise to seek legal advice promptly so you can assess your options.
Blackwater Law have dealt with my claim really well. I have a lot to thank them for and would most certainly recommend them to anyone.