If you or your child suffered an injury during child birth or pregnancy, and believe the injury was caused by medical negligence, you may be able to make an obstetrics or maternal injury compensation claim.
The highly experienced team of clinical negligence solicitors at Lanyon Bowdler can assist you in the event you wish to complain or seek compensation. For legal advice on making a clinical or medical negligence claim please contact Kay Kelly, Head of Clinical Negligence or one of her team on 0800 954 9936.
Vaginal Tears and Episiotomy
Vaginal tears occur during labour, and are a common maternal injury. Whilst they are treatable, they can lead to complications and are frequently the result of medical negligence. There are 4 degrees of perineal tear severity:
- 1st degree tears where the fourchette and vaginal mucosa are damaged and the underlying muscles are exposed, but not torn;
- 2nd degree tears are to the posterior vaginal walls and perennial muscles, but the anal sphincter is intact;
- 3rd degree tears extend to the anal sphincter, but leave the rectal mucosa intact;
- 4th degree tears are where the anal canal is opened, and the tear may spread to the rectum;
An episiotomy is a small surgical incision made to enlarge the vagina and assist childbirth. Good medical practice dictates that an episiotomy may be necessary in order to avoid tearing and other maternal injuries. Typically, episiotomies are necessary in the following situations:
- There is delay in delivery due to a rigid perineum, and an episiotomy will expedite delivery and probably prevent a tear;
- A tear seems imminent and an episiotomy is deemed preferable;
- Instrumental delivery;
- Premature delivery;
If the clinical negligence of your doctor or nurse results in a vaginal tear or botched episiotomy, you may experience long term complications such as perineal trauma, healing complications and faecal and urinary incontinence. Contact Lanyon Bowdler's maternal injury claims specialists to discuss a potential compensation claim.
Sadly still births can, and do, occur. In certain circumstances, they are the result of negligent treatment in the form of a failure to afford all appropriate antenatal care or poor management of labour and delivery.
Risk factors which may result in a still birth include:
- Low birth weight
- Age of mother
- Maternal health
- Chronic diseases, e.g. diabetes, renal failure, hypertension
- Substance abuse
- Multiplicity of pregnancy
- Maternal country of birth
- Pregnancies with a raised maternal serum human chorionic gonadotrophin (HCG) level
- Forceps and breech deliveries
- Asphyxia, anoxia or trauma
- Premature rupture of membranes
- Cord prolapse/antepartum haemorrhage
If there is a risk of still birth, it is imperative that the mother undergoes all appropriate investigations and receives monitoring antenatally and during labour; if problems are detected, health care professionals must apply the appropriate treatment.
If you feel that you did not receive appropriate care and treatment during pregnancy, and that this may have resulted in a still birth, you may be eligible to make an obstetrics compensation claim.
Birth defects, or congenital abnormalities, can only be detected with appropriate screening. Obstetrics compensation claims often arise in circumstances where the proper tests have not been ordered and thus defects have not been detected.
The 18 – 20 week scan in pregnancy includes tests designed to determine whether congenital anomalies exist. Where abnormalities are detected the mother will be offered, in an appropriate case with counselling, a termination. In cases where there is a failure to detect abnormalities and a disabled child is born, a compensation claim may exist.
Contact Lanyon Bowdler
Whether you have suffered a maternal injury, a still birth or undetected birth defects, if you feel that you are the victim of medical negligence, the team at Lanyon Bowdler can help you claim the financial compensation you deserve.
For a free consultation with an obstetrics and maternal injury solicitor, complete our enquiry form or call 0800 954 9936.