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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 midwife negligence case is to be successful.
Any situation where the actions or inactions of your midwife during pregnancy, or during or after labour, result in unnecessary harm or distress to you or your child provide you with grounds to claim compensation for your midwife’s negligence. The following situations represent some of the most common or 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 negligence on the part of your midwife. If you are unsure about whether your circumstances provide legal grounds for claiming compensation, you should seek expert advice from an expert solicitor at your earliest convenience.
Blackwater Law medical negligence solicitors 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 across the country, such is their national reputation in the field of law that is clinical negligence.
Independently recognised by The Legal 500 as 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, given 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.
Pregnancy without complications can be stressful and worrying enough for most families, so where problems arise as a result of negligent care by a midwife, we understand it can be truly devastating, and 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, you your claim will be on a no win, no fee basis. This provides you with zero 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.
Erbs Palsy Claims
Alternatively known as Obstetric Brachial Plexus Palsy, Erbs Palsy is when the baby sustains serious nerve damage during the birthing process when his or her 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 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 claim for compensation.
Cerebral Palsy Claims
Cerebral Palsy occurs when a baby suffers a brain injury. The injury can be caused in a number of ways, including if it is starved of oxygen during the birthing process, by infection or where the baby suffers a severe head injury. However the injury is caused it leads to brain and nerve damage, resulting in disabilities associated with control of movement and intellectual capability. Its severity can vary, and in some cases it may only affect the lower body or one side of the body. Symptoms can vary greatly from child to child depending on the type and severity of cerebral palsy they have.
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, and 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 claims can be made where the brain injury was caused by medical negligence on the part of medical staff.
Following birth your community midwife should I identify symptoms that might be associated with cerebral palsy and organise for specialist assessment so as to provide for a diagnosis.
Maternal diabetes claims
Sometimes referred to as gestational diabetes, maternal diabetes must be identified and treated promptly by medical staff, as serious complications can develop where it is not.
These include severe discomfort and stress on the part of the mother, but can also stretch to miscarriages or birth defects with 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 Pregnancy Claims
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, but 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, diarrhoea or pain when using the toilet and constantly feeling faint.
Jaundice is fairly common in newborn babies, and results from excess levels of bilirubin in their blood. This is because of an elevated red blood cell count, itself 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 and 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 Kernicterus is not a threat, and that where it is medical staff act decisively to avoid some of the condition’s worst effects. These 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 the baby’s blood such that their liver can more easily break it down. In other instances, a blood transfusion may be necessary. Where jaundice is misdiagnosed or mismanaged and allowed to develop, parents may have grounds for a misdiagnosis claim or kernicterus claim.
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), and 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 as such treatment options 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 produces 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 act 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 claim.
Still Birth / Neonatal Death Claims
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, this could indicate you have a claim.
Congenital Hip Dysplasia Claims
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. 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; which is 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, and where the actions of medical staff or a midwife are not sufficient to prevent or effectively treat these, a midwife negligence claim may be able to be made.
These 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 the mother develops during pregnancy which go unnoticed by a midwife.
If you’re unsure as to whether your circumstances and actions of your midwife constitute midwife negligence, 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.