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Mothers that have sustained a birth injury may be entitled to claim compensation where this was caused by poor care or medical negligence. But expert legal advice will be needed for your claim to be successful.
There are a variety of instances where negligent care provision by medical staff responsible for looking after you during the birthing process can result in injuries. Where this is the case you may be entitled to compensation for your pain and suffering. Negligent care can occur in the lead up to, during or immediately after giving birth, so there are potentially several circumstances of negligence that can provide grounds for a medical negligence claim
Forceps Delivery / Ventouse Delivery Claims:
It’s not uncommon for women who are struggling with a “spontaneous” delivery to be assisted through the use of forceps or a ventouse instrument. These apparatus are used by doctors to help to deliver the baby more easily (and hopefully more safely) than might have otherwise been the case. However, they must be skilfully and appropriately utilised, and where the member of staff operating the ventouse or forceps is not sufficiently trained or not paying adequate attention they can cause serious harm, potentially providing grounds for a forceps delivery claim. Mothers have been known to sustain genital tears as well as long term urinary or faecal incontinence, along with damage to their bladder or uterus.
Linked to problems in the placenta, pre-eclampsia causes the mother to retain abnormally high levels of protein in the blood, along with excess fluid retention leading to swelling in the extremities and a number of other unpleasant symptoms including nausea. Whilst the only real cure for the condition is to deliver the baby, this may not be feasible at especially early stages in the pregnancy, meaning mothers should be kept under close supervision to monitor for any worsening of symptoms. In extreme cases the condition may lead to full Eclampsia – with the onset of fits comparable to epileptic episodes; these pose a mortality risk to mother and baby and should be treated quickly by medical staff to avoid critical danger. Where pre-eclampsia is not diagnosed or mismanaged, you may be entitled to make a pre-eclampsia claim for compensation.
Where doctors foresee a difficult birth they may see fit to perform a surgical cut known as an Episiotomy at the opening of the vagina, to ease the baby’s passage. If they fail to recognise that such a procedure is necessary and the mother subsequently sustains damage to the vagina (sometimes amounting to second or third degree tearing), this may be deemed negligent. Likewise, tears to the area around the anus can also occur, and the difficulties associated with both forms of tearing can lead to complications and discomfort. Where an Episiotomy is undertaken but performed negligently, this may provide argument for an Episiotomy claim.
C Section Claims:
Caesarean sections can be either a planned or emergency procedure. In either case, surgical mistakes can occur given rise to a surgical error claim or C section claim. Doctors must also always remain vigilant against the risks of infection, excessive bleeding or blood clotting in the mother, as a failure to do so can cause extreme, long-term suffering and may also pose problems for future pregnancies.
Negligent Stitching Claims:
Even where surgical incisions are made in the appropriate fashion they must still be repaired again afterwards to prevent risk of infection or further injury. This process, sometimes referred to as “suturing”, should always be performed accurately and promptly – where it is not a lasting injury can be inflicted on the area which can cause discomfort, pain, unsightliness and necessitate secondary surgery to correct.
Placental Abruption Claims:
During the course of some pregnancies the placenta can become prematurely detached from the womb, posing a significant health risk to both mother and child. Where medical staff fail to act promptly and effectively the mother can sustain massive blood loss or damage to vital organs – she may even require a hysterectomy.
Maternal Diabetes Claims:
Sometimes referred to as Gestational Diabetes, this condition can be an enormous source of stress and discomfort for the mother if not adequately attended to by medical staff. What’s more, in some cases it can lead to miscarriages or birth defects in the heart and brain of the baby.
Retention of Products of Conception:
In the unfortunate event of a miscarriage the mother’s body can respond in potentially dangerous ways. Where the placenta fails, the uterus may contract rapidly in a bid to expel the now obsolete tissues; this can prompt significant pain and bleeding and must be managed medical staff. Where it is not, unnecessary suffering can often be inflicted on the mother.
Nervous Shock Claims:
Particularly traumatic births can have long-lasting mental effects on the mother, leading to mental disorders which can be exacerbated due to negligent care. Mothers have been known to experience anxiety neurosis or reactive depression, as well as other psychological conditions Where negligent care has caused the condition or where mental health issues have not been diagnosed and treated, there may be grounds to commence a psychiatric claim.
Whilst these claims illustrate some of the more common scenarios where mothers can claim birth injury compensation, they do not represent an exhaustive list. If you as a mother, or if your partner has suffered unnecessary harm as a result of substandard care before, during or immediately after giving birth, you should speak to a medical negligence solicitor for advice on potentially making a claim.
Blackwater Law successfully represent clients across the country in making medical negligence claims relating to birthing injuries to mothers and children. Our team of expert solicitors is independently recognised for their expertise in medical negligence by a directory of the country’s leading law firms.
So when you contact Blackwater Law for advice, you know that you will receive some of the best advice, guidance and representation available.
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.
It is important to remember that you may also be entitled to make a birth injury compensation claim as a result of harm inflicted on your child as well as / instead of to the mother. There are no strict guidelines defining precisely what may and may not entitle you to compensation, but you call and discuss the circumstances with Blackwater Law medical negligence solicitors if you suspect your child suffered harm as a result of substandard care.
Common circumstances where care may fall below what would be deemed reasonable include the following situations:
We understand that if you are considering making a claim for clinical negligence compensation relating to birth injuries to mother, you may be worried about legal fees. At Blackwater Law we undertake all medical negligence claims – including those for birth injuries to mothers – on a no win, no fee basis.
When you make a no win, no fee claim with Blackwater Law, you take no financial risk
You first need to find out if you are entitled to make a birthing injury claim. To do this you should call Blackwater Law on 0800 083 5500. You will speak directly to one of our specialist medical negligence solicitors who will quickly be able to inform you as to whether you may have grounds to take legal action. You can ask any questions you may have and if we think you are entitled to commence a compensation claim, we will tell you what the next steps are and where things go from here.
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