Pregnancy & Childbirth

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Birth Injury & Trauma Claims

Pregnancy and childbirth usually bring people into contact with medical professionals for the happiest of reasons, and most babies are born without serious complications.

However, when complications do arise resulting in a birth injury to the mother or the baby, the experience of childbirth can often turn into a traumatic and devastating event with far reaching consequences.

For example, one particular condition that may be the result of negligent medical treatment at birth is Cerebral Palsy. It is estimated that cerebral palsy affects 1 in every 500 babies born in the UK (data from Health UK). Cerebral palsy is a condition caused by a baby being starved of oxygen antenatally or during labour and results in varying degrees of damage to the brain. This is a lifelong condition which alters the lives of the whole family as well as the victim. Cerebral palsy is not always caused by negligent care but in some cases it is avoidable.

Some birth injuries are unavoidable. However, sometimes birth injuries can be attributed to errors or omissions by doctors or other hospital staff.

Negligent medical treatment relating to expectant mothers can include:

  • Perineal tears
  • Failure to manage diabetes/other pre-existing medical conditions
  • Failure to manage pre-eclampsia/pregnancy induced hypertension
  • Retained swabs
  • Vesico vaginal fistulas
  • Retained products of conception
  • Failure to diagnose/manage ectopic pregnancy
  • Failure to warn parents of specific disabilities
  • Failed sterilisation
  • Failed vasectomy
  • Failed termination of pregnancy

Complications during childbirth can include/arise out of:

  • Cerebral Palsy/brain damage
  • Erb’s palsy (injury to the arm nerves) after shoulder dystocia
  • Failing to perform an emergency caesarean section when indicated
  • Failing to diagnose a breech birth
  • Stillbirth
  • Neonatal death
  • Rhesus incompatibility
  • Placental abruption

Birth injuries involve complex legal and medical issues. It is important to consult with a specialist clinical negligence Solicitor and obtain the best advice and guidance from the outset. Our specialist team of clinical negligence solicitors includes a dual qualified doctor/solicitor. We can offer you professional and confidential advice at what is a very stressful and emotional time for the whole family.

Pregnancy and Childbirth Case Studies

  • Our clients, a mother, and father brought a clinical negligence claim against a hospital regarding the very sad death of one of their babies in a twin pregnancy.  When our client attended her 34-week scan, she was told that one of her twins had sadly died. Fortunately, the surviving twin was a healthy baby despite being premature.  It was the alleged that the ultrasonographer who scanned our client at 32 weeks should have identified that one twin was not growing as expected and should have referred our client to see an obstetrician. It was alleged that if an obstetrician had been informed of the lack of growth and the correct treatment was given, both twins would have survived.  Both parents were successful in their claim for compensation.
  • Our client, who was acting on behalf of her baby son, was successful in her claim for compensation as a result of an injury during his birth.  Our client’s baby boy was a large baby but was delivered vaginally instead of being delivered by caesarean section. As a result of being delivered vaginally, our client’s son suffered from shoulder dystocia and a fracture to his humerus.  Our client received £6,000 compensation.
  • Our client had her baby by way of caesarean section, which was planned and not an emergency operation.  Following delivery of her baby, she suffered from persistent bleeding and developed a womb infection which was as a result of retained products of conception. She took three courses of antibiotics for this and was, therefore, unable to breastfeed her child.  She then had to undergo a further operation under general anaesthetic to remove the retained products.  Our client received £5,000 compensation.
  • Our client was expecting her second baby and the hospital involved failed to diagnose that the baby was particularly large. Had this been picked up during the pregnancy, our client’s baby would have been delivered via caesarean section. The baby’s large size wasn’t detected, our client had to deliver the baby vaginally, which was a very traumatic birth for both the baby and for our client.  As a result of the traumatic delivery, our client sustained injuries to her hips and she has recovered the sum of £2,500 by way of compensation.

Do you have a potential medical negligence claim?

Please contact us for advice if you feel you have suffered any form of negligent medical/dental treatment. We have a specialist team of medical negligence solicitors who are always happy to help.

If you would like advice on whether you have a potential clinical negligence claim or assistance with drafting a letter of complaint, please contact us on the number below. Please note that there are legal time limits in place for starting a claim for compensation, and our specialist clinical negligence solicitors will be able to advise you specifically on the facts of your own case.

For free advice from our Medical Negligence solicitors, please call us direct on 01244 354688

Linda Schermer-Jones

Head of the Clinical Negligence Department, Associate Director & Medical Negligence Solicitor

Kerry Goulden

Associate Director & Medical Negligence Solicitor

Liz Fry

Associate Director & Medical Negligence Solicitor

Emma Woodrow

Clinical Negligence Legal Adviser