1st July 2021 – Our client, a 35-year-old woman from London, underwent an emergency C-section delivery of her first child at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Greenwich in October 2018 after a failure to progress in labour. Her operation records stated that her placenta and cord were complete on removal. She recovered well from the procedure and was discharged shortly afterwards.When visited by community midwives our client reported, on repeated occasions, some bleeding and a large tender abdomen. She was told, however, that this was normal and subsequently discharged from their care. Around a week following the C-section she developed flu like symptoms and contacted the maternity ward via telephone but was told to take paracetamol for the symptoms. She did feel better after taking paracetamol however her stomach remained as large and tender as it had been since her discharge.
Two and half weeks after the C-section her fever returned and she passed several large blood clots. She contacted the Queen Elizabeth Urgent Care Centre who told her to call triage. She subsequently attended her GP who queried retained products and made a plan for antibiotic treatment and an urgent ultrasound scan.
Whilst awaiting her scan date, our client, who had continued to feel unwell, passed another large blood clot. She called the maternity ward and was told that because she was five weeks post C-section she wasn’t under their purview and so they could not help her. She therefore called the non-emergency number 111 and after an initial assessment was told to call her GP. She called her GP practice but was told she wouldn’t get a call back until later that day.
As she felt so unwell she decided to take herself to A&E. She waited a long time to seen but was eventually triaged, admitted and underwent ultrasound scanning which found retained products of conception. She underwent surgery and a general anaesthetic to remove the retained products the following day. Our client recalls being told by hospital staff that they had been shocked at the amount of retained placenta and that she was lucky that the consequences had not been more severe.
Following discharge our client struggled with her physical recovery however she has improved over time and is now doing well. Her mental health also suffered as a result of these events and she describes a mistrust of doctors and feels she now questions everything she is told and always looks for a second opinion.
During the case expert obstetric evidence was obtained which demonstrated that there was a negligent failure by surgical staff to examine our client’s uterine cavity during her C-section such that a substantial amount of placenta was retained causing her subsequent symptoms.
A Letter of Claim was sent to the Defendant accordingly, following which an offer of £16,000 was made in respect of the impact these events had on our client. The Defendant conducted their own investigations following which they admitted liability in full and made an offer of £9,500. Negotiations ensued and a settlement of £12,000 was agreed bringing the matter to a conclusion.
Francesca Beach, who had conduct of this case said “My client’s first 5 weeks of motherhood were marred by physical pain and anxiety in a period which should have been full of joy. I am, however, glad to say she has come to terms with these events during the lifetime of the case aided by the admissions of liability made by the Defendant and is now doing well having just given birth to her second child. I wish her all the very best for the future.’’
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