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Gynaecology and Pregnancy Claims
Child birth is miraculous, exhausting but ultimately exhilarating for most mothers, but there are times when mother or child can sustain serious injuries during pregnancy and birth.
IIt is possible to claim in ‘wrongful birth’ cases, where a failed contraceptive procedure accidentally results in a baby being conceived. Negligently conducted or interpreted tests to detect conditions like Down's syndrome can mislead parents into thinking all is well, when had they known the truth they may well have opted for a termination.
Some child birth traumas are caused by sub-standard care during delivery, such as a failure to recognise the signs of a baby in distress or any other problem that would make delivery unsafe. The baby can suffer from Erb's palsy, shoulder dystocia or brachial plexus injury caused by excessive pulling during delivery.
Babies can also be injured in assisted deliveries using a ventouse (a vacuum device) or forceps. Errors made at the delivery stage can have huge consequences including stillbirth. Problems can also be caused once your baby has been born such as a failure to recognise and treat congenital hip displacement.
Whatever the tragic circumstances of your pregnancy case, Shoosmiths has considerable experience in these claims. We will handle your claim with sensitivity and compassion, but pursue it in a professional and determined manner, hopefully making what's an already stressful time a little less unbearable.
How do I know if I have a gynaecology and pregnancy claim?
Determining if you have a claim depends on proving that your doctor, nurse or midwife looking after you or assisting at the birth provided substandard care to you or your child.
Avoidable mistakes can be made during the pregnancy in the interpretation of scans looking for serious abnormalities in the unborn baby or a failure to diagnose and manage an ectopic pregnancy.
Care in the final stages of pregnancy and during labour can also be substandard. Problems can be caused by a failure to interpret and understand the CTG trace monitoring the baby's heart rate. An abnormal reading may indicate the need to deliver urgently by caesarean section. A delay in delivering a baby in distress can cause irreversible brain damage to the child.
The choice of the method of delivery, including the use of forceps, may also be flawed and the skill of attending staff or technical performance of the delivery itself may be insufficient to avoid damage to mother and child.
If our expert medical negligence solicitors can prove that 'on the balance of probability' (i.e. a greater than 50% chance) it was those errors or the failure to act in a timely manner that were directly responsible for the injuries mother and child suffered, you may have a case for a gynaecology and pregnancy claim.
How do I make a gynaecology and pregnancy claim?
If you had negligent ante-natal care, a poorly managed labour or your baby wasn't properly cared for after birth and suffered an injury, you may be able to make a claim.
A claim would be bought against those responsible for your ante-natal care or management of your pregnancy. Claims are often against the hospital Trusts themselves rather than individual doctors or nurses.
Medical negligence is a complex area and therefore the most important step is to contact an expert law firm like Shoosmiths which specialises in this work. Proving negligence by those charged with your care is based on expert medical opinion. The input of respected, experienced and independent medical experts is crucial to the success of your claim. Your chosen law firm should have well established relationships with the best medical experts.
It is possible that your child is so severely injured that when they start school they will require a statement of Special Educational Needs (SEN). This is often a difficult time for parents and they have to fight for the rights of their child. Choosing a firm with legal expertise in SEN provision is an important consideration to ensure that your child receives the right plan for them. We have specialist legal advice to offer in this area.
Whatever the circumstances of your case, We can help you to get answers to your questions, sometimes an apology and most importantly to get all the practical and financial support you need for the future.
How long will my gynaecology and pregnancy claim take
Despite the requirement for increased candour by medical staff, these cases still tend to be defended. Resolution depends on a variety of factors, such as how serious any injuries are and whether the other party quickly admits liability.
We will need to gather evidence from a variety of independent medical experts to establish if there is a case to be answered by the other side. Such medical experts must consider the conduct of the treating doctors and comment on whether mistakes were made or correct procedures not followed.
We then need to obtain evidence about the current condition of you or your baby and what the future holds. It will take time and can take the input of many specialists to get an accurate assessment of you or your child’s future health and needs.
It is possible that intervention and support will be required for the rest of you or your child’s life. The fact that you or your injured child may be denied the possibility of future earnings through work will also need to be factored into any settlement.
The other side may dispute our evidence and our valuation so we need to enter into negotiations to reach a satisfactory settlement. The length of time spent in such negotiations can vary.
We will always aim to settle your claim without delay, but it often takes time to ensure we achieve the best possible outcome for you and your child.
More about gynaecology and pregnancy claims
Obstetrics, the speciality involved with the management of pregnancy, delivery and the immediate period after childbirth, is one branch of medicine that most women will come into contact with at some point in their lives.
Poor treatment by a doctor or a midwife or failure to diagnose birth defects could be grounds for a claim. Common obstetric errors include failing to appropriately manage a difficult labour leading to oxygen deprivation for your baby, incorrect interpretation of the cardiotocography trace (CTG) equipment monitoring the baby’s health during birth and poorly managed complications following caesarean section.
The worst cases can result in miscarriage, stillbirth or cerebral palsy, but what makes any birth or pregnancy claim so important is the fact that, for the most seriously injured children, an award will have to fund ongoing care, therapies and treatment for many years.
Claims by children can be started at any time up until their 21st birthday, whereas a claim by a mother for her injuries must be started within three years of the event For the most seriously injured children (those who are suffering from a disability such that they are unable to make their own decisions), there may be no time limit to bringing action at all.
If you or your child have suffered an injury during pregnancy or birth our specialist team of lawyers at Shoosmiths will help you fight for the answers and obtain the financial support you need to cope with whatever the future holds.
£44,000 in damages for wrongful birth
Bernice Quadling had gone for a routine doctor's appointment to replace a contraceptive implant, considered one of the most effective forms of birth control. She left believing she had adequate, safe, contraception when she did not.
Bernice had received a placebo implant in error. Find out how Shoosmiths helped Bernice receive the compensation she deserved here.
£37,500 award for incorrect reporting of X-rays that lead to miscarriages
Our client had been trying for a baby without success. She was advised to have an x-ray to look at the uterus and fallopian tubes to see whether there was a blockage or other abnormality that would explain the difficulty in conception.
After being told everything was normal, our client experienced another miscarriage. Upon investigation it was found that there was an error with the results of her initial X-Ray.Read about how Shoosmiths won their claimant rightful compensation for their pregnancy claim here.
'Shoosmiths got me the rehab I needed and really helped with my family. They were fantastic throughout.'
Shoosmiths expert clinical negligence team has substantial expertise in gynaecology and pregnancy claims. You’ll find us determined and professional, but approachable, helpful and caring.Why Shoosmiths