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Medical Negligence : Birth Injuries

Birth Injuries

Birth Injury Compensation Claims

Most births happen without incident, and the parents are soon heading home with their healthy and happy new baby. But sadly, even the most straightforward of births can go wrong if the medical professionals in charge fail to take proper care of the mother and baby.

Doctors and midwives should recognise and mitigate any risks to the mother and child to prevent a birth injury – from the early stages of pregnancy through to the birth itself.

There can be severe injuries or fatalities if the healthcare professionals fail in their duty to take sufficient care of their patients.

 

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Who Can Make A Birth Injury Claim?

Birth injuries can happen to the mother, baby, or both.

The mother is entitled to claim if she has suffered negligent treatment resulting in an injury. Either parent can make a claim on the child’s behalf.

 

Types Of Birth Injury To The Mother

Common examples of pregnancy and birth negligence that can occur to the mother include:

  • Mismanaged pregnancy complications – such as pre-eclampsia, causing high blood pressure which can in turn lead to a stroke, fits, HELLP syndrome (blood, liver and/or blood pressure problems) or organ failure
  • Maternal sepsis – failure to diagnose a urinary tract infection (UTI), pneumonia or influenza can lead to septicaemia (blood poisoning), which can then be passed to the baby
  • Perineal tears – third and fourth-degree tears, as well as incorrectly performed episiotomies, or mistakes in suturing
  • Mistakes during a caesarean section – this can include damage to vital organs, failure to remove surgical implements or swabs
  • Retained products of conception (RPOC) – when placental or foetal tissue is left in the uterus after miscarriage, termination or delivery, leading to heavy bleeding after the birth
  • Anal fissures – caused by the trauma of childbirth
  • Anaesthetic administration errors – failure to provide the correct dosage can result in nerve damage, seizures, cardiac arrest, psychological and physical harm
  • Fatalities – in the most serious negligence cases, the mother may die in childbirth or as a result of bleeding or infections after birth. Sadly, most deaths result from conditions that could have been prevented had the women received the right medical care throughout their pregnancies and during birth.

Types Of Birth Injury To The Baby

Common examples of pregnancy and birth negligence that can occur to the child include:

  • Midwifery and obstetrics negligence – such as incorrect use of forceps or vacuum extractors, problems with induced labour
  • Lack of screening or mistakes during screening – which could result in missed diagnosis of developmental abnormalities such as Down’s syndrome, spina bifida, or heart or brain defects
  • Cerebral palsy – the most common cause is lack of oxygen to the brain (hypoxia) either during pregnancy or – more likely – at birth
  • Erb’s palsy – paralysis of the arm due to nerve damage, most often caused by the baby’s shoulder becoming caught above the mother’s pubic bone during vaginal delivery (shoulder dystocia)
  • Brain damage – which can be caused by neonatal hypoglycaemia or lack of oxygen to the brain (perinatal hypoxia)
  • Fractured or broken bones – commonly to the skull, legs, arms and collarbone during labour
  • Hip dysplasia – which can result from a breech birth. Failure to diagnose and treat this condition soon after birth can result in hip pain, a limp, or osteoarthritis in later life
  • Stillbirth, miscarriage and neonatal death – resulting from inadequate antenatal monitoring, or treatment provided for another condition without checking for pregnancy in advance.

 

How Long Do I Have To Make A Claim?

If you are a mother who wishes to make a claim for a childbirth injury you have received, the general rule is that you have three years from the date the injury took place (or from when you discovered that you had an injury caused by negligent medical treatment during birth).

If you are claiming on behalf of your child who received an injury at birth, you can claim at any time before their 18th birthday. If your child wants to make a claim when they reach adulthood, they have three years in which to make their claim from the day they turn 18.

If your child tragically passes away due to their birth injury, you must make your claim within three years of the date of their death.

 

How Much Compensation Can I Claim For Birth Injury Negligence?

No one wants to have to make a claim against the NHS – but it can help to provide for you and your family and to secure your future.

The range and severity of injuries that can occur during birth are extremely varied so the amount of compensation you may claim will depend on your exact circumstances.

A medical team will need to assess your injuries to fully understand the damage caused and the limitations you suffer in your daily life.

You can claim compensation for:

  • injuries sustained
  • physical rehabilitation treatment
  • psychological treatment
  • specialist equipment and home adaptations
  • loss of earnings
  • care costs.

We will take into account not only your current situation but any needs you or you child will have in the future, so that you can be provided for long-term.

Medical negligence claims are complex. They can take many years to be settled, so in certain circumstances we will seek interim payments before the case is concluded. These payments can help you to pay for private medical treatment, rehabilitation and equipment required immediately to help you recover and live a normal life.   

 

How Much Does It Cost To Make A Birth Injury Claim?

After your initial free consultation, and once we have established that you have a claim with sufficient prospects of success, we will be happy to take your case on a no win, no fee basis.

This means you do not need to pay any solicitors fees upfront. Instead, you will pay your solicitor a success fee on conclusion of the claim – but only if they win your case. 99% of claims are settled out of court.

 

How Do I Start My Claim? Book A Free Chat

We understand that bringing a claim against the NHS or a GP is a daunting prospect – and you may still be suffering from the repercussions of your birth injury.

But you and your family deserve compensation to help you live as normal a life as possible.

Get in touch with our medical negligence solicitors today to arrange a free, informal chat about your case.  

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