Understanding Bladder Injuries After a C-Section: Symptoms, Causes, and Legal Recourse

By Jason Brady

surgeon with blue gloves holding surgical scissors

In this article, we will explore the symptoms of bladder damage after a C-section, what happens if your bladder is nicked during the procedure, the prevalence of bladder injuries, and whether medical negligence can be a factor.

A Caesarean section, or C-section, is a common surgical procedure performed to deliver babies when a vaginal birth is not advisable or possible. While this procedure is generally considered safe, like any surgery, it carries certain risks. One of the potential complications is a bladder injury.

What are the symptoms of bladder damage after a C-section?

Post-C-section bladder injuries can vary in severity. Some common symptoms to watch out for include:

  • Pain and discomfort: You may experience abdominal or pelvic pain that persists beyond the expected recovery period.
  • Difficulty urinating: A frequent and urgent need to urinate, along with difficulty emptying the bladder completely, can be signs of a bladder injury.
  • Blood in urine: Haematuria, or the presence of blood in your urine, can be indicative of bladder damage.
  • Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs): Recurrent UTIs may occur due to bacteria entering the urinary tract through a damaged bladder.
  • Abdominal Swelling: Swelling in the lower abdomen may result from fluid accumulation due to a bladder injury.
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What happens if your bladder is nicked during a C-section?

During a C-section, the surgeon carefully separates the abdominal muscles and the bladder to access the uterus. In some cases, unintentional damage to the bladder can occur. If a bladder is nicked during the procedure, the following steps are typically taken:

  • Immediate repair: If a bladder injury is identified during surgery, the surgeon will repair it immediately to minimise complications.
  • Temporary catheter: A catheter may be inserted into your bladder post-surgery to allow proper healing.
  • Monitoring: You will be closely monitored to ensure the bladder heals properly, and there are no further complications.

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.

New-born baby in hospital

How common are bladder injuries after a C-section?

Bladder injuries during C-sections are relatively rare: the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) found an incidence rate of just 0.22% in a 15-year retrospective study published in the Obstetrics & Gynecology journal in May 2016. The majority of injuries (67%) were found to occur in cases where the mother was undergoing a repeat caesarean procedure.

Despite the low incidence rate, it remains essential to be aware of the symptoms and risks associated with bladder injuries after a C-section.

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Can bladder injuries be caused by medical negligence?

In some cases, bladder injuries during a C-section may result from medical negligence. Negligence can occur as a result of:

  • Improper surgical technique: If the surgeon fails to follow appropriate medical guidelines and causes damage to your bladder due to negligence, it may be grounds for a medical negligence claim.
  • Failure to recognise and treat: Medical staff should promptly identify and address any bladder injuries during or after surgery. failure to do so may be considered clinical negligence.
  • Failure to obtain informed consent: If you were not adequately informed about the risks associated with C-sections, including the potential for bladder injuries, this could be grounds for a bladder injury compensation claim.

Bladder injury compensation claims with Blackwater Law

If you have suffered a bladder injury or believe you have experienced medical negligence during a C-section, you may be eligible for a no-win, no-fee C-section compensation claim.

Blackwater Law’s medical negligence solicitors specialise in bladder injury claims and can provide free initial legal guidance and support, so get in touch today.