Specialists in Medical Compensation Claims
Birth Injuries To Mothers and Babies – The Hidden Trauma
The birth of a child is usually perhaps the most memorable and joyous experiences life has to offer. And there were 625,008 live births in the UK 2021, meaning that many families could celebrate the birth of a new born. In the developed world the process is mostly willingly handed over to trusted medical professionals -and as a result entirely safe. But sadly, that’s not always the case. something does go wrong then the trauma to the victim and their family can be extensive – and life changing. And although at such a terrible time, a victim’s thoughts probably won’t turn immediately to compensation, if the treatment received my mother and baby was negligent, a successful birth injury claim may be possible.
You don’t have to feel like doctors, nurses or hospital have the right to deny you a clear understanding of what went wrong and who did what during your delivery.
In the UK, all medical malpractice, including birth injuries, falls under the category of what is called “professional negligence.” Professional negligence was put into place so that if a birth injury occurs, parents can get the help they need.
Your birth injury – there’s no need to suffer in silence
Birth injuries to mothers are a sensitive subject, and are rarely talked about. Nevertheless, official statistics suggest that there is something of a silent epidemic. The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists report that over 85% of women will suffer some degree of physical injury during a vaginal birth, with 60-70% of these injuries needing sutures.
The main physical risk is a perineal tear, but the psychological damage shouldn’t be underestimated either. Imagine the trauma of safely delivering a baby only to sustain an injury that requires invasive surgery, and which can leave a new mother with painful problems for years to come. Add to this a sense of shame and embarrassment, and it’s easy to see why many women prefer to suffer in silence.
This distressing state of affairs will only change if the issue is brought out into the open. Shame and embarrassment are made worse by silence. Any new mother who suffers a birth injury needs to realise that they are not alone, and they should always seek medical help. There may also be a case for medical negligence compensation, so new mothers should never be afraid to obtain specialist legal advice. If medical negligence has led to an injury, it needs to be challenged to stop it happening again.
While this situation may require you to hire a solicitor, and even if you feel that you shouldn’t start up a fuss, think about what might happen to another mother or baby if incorrect and inefficient doctors and procedures continue to be used in damaging ways.
The suffering and emotional distress that it causes mothers, and their families means that damages are deserved. Sadly, many birth injuries can never be compensated adequately with mere cash. However, in many cases compensation can help.
And the scale of the problem is shocking. Sadly, almost seven out of every thousand babies born in the UK suffer from a birth injury.
If you think you or your family have suffered from medical negligence, do what is best and talk to one of our legal experts.
Call or Email Us Now for Your FREE Specialist Legal Advice on Birth Injury Claims– free phone advice and a free first face to face or video call appointment. Call FREEPHONE 0800 1404544 or locally on (01722) 422300
The importance of specialist legal advice
If you feel you or your baby may have suffered from medical negligence it is best not to try to find out on your own. We can help you pursue a claim for medical negligence. Call or email our specialist team. The initial information and advice you receive is free, confidential and you will be under no obligation.
But you should be aware that claiming compensation from a medical professional requires a particularly high level of skill and experience. Not only does a solicitor involve need to have an excellent understanding of law and procedure, but they also need to understand medical issues – for example in properly interpreting x-rays and other medical records.
And in appointing us as your solicitors us to run your claim, you can rest assured you have such a specialist your side.
Our medical negligence claims team is highly experienced and includes an accredited member of the Law Society Personal Injury Panel.
Different types of birth injury claim
Unfortunately, two of the most serious birth injuries to babies are also the most common, namely Cerebral Palsy caused by the baby being starved of oxygen during the birth due to medical negligence and Erb’s Palsy, a paralysis of the arms’ main upper group of nerves caused by damage to the shoulder during a mismanaged difficult birth. tragically, there are many other different types of birth injuries, some of which were completely avoidable.
Other relatively common injuries to babies can be caused by:
- poor prenatal care
- failing to spot fetal distress
- improper handling of a baby during or after birth
- a failure to diagnose and treat a new born baby with low blood sugar or who is suffering from jaundice
- cases of stillbirth or neonatal death
- the increasingly commonly, ‘wrongful birth’ the latter arising when a pregnancy and birth occurred due to a sterilisation or vasectomy that failed
Click here to find out more about failed vasectomy compensation claims
- the umbilical cord being wrapped around the baby’s mouth, nose, or neck.
Injuries to mothers
Sometimes it is not just your baby who suffers, mothers can also be harmed. Injuries that mothers can face can sadly include the following;
- perineal or vaginal tears – Due to the strain caused by the baby’s head passing through the perineum, mothers will often suffer tears and in many cases doctors or midwives can do nothing to stop this. However, in the case of very severe tears (degree 3 or 4) medical professionals must act in order to prevent complications such as infection. If the tear is not managed the mother will be put in unnecessary danger and will experience excruciating pain. If doctors or midwives fail in this way there may be grounds for a claim for compensation.
- scarring and other injuries due to the misuse of forceps, fissures, and incorrect suturing after an episiotomy -During childbirth there can be serious problems with the mother of baby which requires doctors or midwives to speed up the delivering process. They will often do this by making a cut to the perineum which if done incorrectly can have serious consequences. If the cut is not well stitched up or monitored post-delivery, there may also be grounds for a medical negligence claim.
- shock due to a traumatic birth
- infections caused by the mother retaining tissues which should have been expelled as part of the birth process
- a doctor’s incorrect diagnosis leading to an unneeded caesarean birth.
Avoidable injuries caused by medical negligence might occur to both baby and mother during the same birth.
Click here to read more about making a medical negligence claim
Click here to find out more about making Women’s Medical Negligence Claims
Are compensation claims possible following a home based birth injury?
For many women, knowing that they are surrounded by medical professionals in a hospital when they give birth puts their minds at rest. Some fear that if they gave birth at home and therefore lacked that level of support, they would be put in greater danger should something go wrong. Whilst this is not generally the case, mistakes are sometimes made relating to home births. For example, if an obstetrician wrongly advises a woman to have a home birth and that woman later suffers injury or the child is born with cerebral palsy, they may be said to have been medically negligent.
How safe are home births?
Whether you give birth at home or in hospital, you can expect to deliver safely in the UK, which is sadly not the case in many countries. 2 in every 5 births are considered to be low risk and only 0.43% of such births result in stillborn or medically threatened children.
A recent study does however suggest that the figures change for first time mothers who experience such troubles in 0.53% of births in hospital and 0.93% of births at home. Therefore first time mothers are at a much greater risk of having injured children if they give birth at home. Nevertheless, the vast majority still have safe births at home.
Making a home birth claim
Injuries to either the child or the mother during a home birth can lead to compensation pay-outs. The difficulty lies in proving that the injuries sustained were caused by a medical professional. If a nurse injures the mother during the birth than that is a straightforward cases of negligence, but a doctor can also be responsible if they wrongly advised a woman to have a home birth when they should have delivered in hospital.
Most personal injury claims have very strict time limits however there is less of a rush with home birth injury compensation claims. The mother can claim on behalf of the injured child right up until the child turns 18 and even after this point the son/daughter will have until they are 21 to pursue the claim themselves.