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Birth Negligence in the UK – Facts and Statistics

Childbirth is one of the most extremely delicate natural processes a female body can go through during which many complications can occur which can have negative impacts on the not only the mother but also the new-born’s health.

As such, medical staff need to ensure the mother and baby’s conditions are monitored with the utmost care. Inadequate medical care can harm the mother and baby’s health, sometimes with lifelong devastating impact.

According to The Birth Trauma Association (BTA), around 30,000 women experience birth Trauma in the UK. This can lead to PTSD, physical injuries to the mother and baby, or developmental issues for the baby which can have life-long impact on their quality of life. Injuries to the mother during birth can have complications later on in life with future deliveries.

What can go wrong due to negligent medical care?

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) found that in England and Wales circa 2018, 2488 infant deaths occurred. This is compared to 2586 deaths in 2013. Despite the small reduction in 5 years this number is still not acceptable especially when you consider in 2018, 2488 families lost a baby.

  • Failure to treat or identify infections: Infections such as Pneumonia, Urinary Tract Infections or UTIs or Sepsis in the Mother can negatively affect the baby if left unidentified and not adequately treated.
  • Leftover or retained Prenatal Tissue: Retained foetal tissue or Placenta after birth can lead to severe health complications for the mother if not diagnosed and treated in a timely fashion.
  • Negligent caesarean section procedures: C-section treatment which leaves surgical damage to organs can have devastating impact on the mother after birth, especially with infections amongst other complications.
  • Botched episiotomies & tissue damage: During birth, episiotomies might be required to assist in difficult delivery. If incorrectly performed these can have severely negative impact on the mother’s health, especially in the case of third degree and fourth degree perineal tears.
  • Birth trauma monitoring: Inadequate monitoring of the mother and baby during birth can lead to distress and trauma for the mother and baby with devastating impact.
  • Mistakes in screening: The unborn can be screened for abnormal developmental issues such as Down Syndrome, Spina Bifida and other genetic, chromosomal disorders. This allows for parents with the option to terminate a pregnancy which can prevent lifelong struggle for the child and the parent. If these are not carried out adequately, it is negligent on the medical professional’s part.

Who is responsible for birth injury?

In the UK, Doctors, Nurses and other medical professionals are trained to adhere to the highest standards of care. Whilst in most cases they are successful in carrying out these duties, in some cases mistakes do happen.

Unfortunately, these mistakes mean lifelong, devastating impact on the Mother and Child’s life as such needs to be taken very seriously.

Who do I make a claim against?

Responsibility for birth trauma and Negligence can be attributed to the medical professionals who administered the care. It is important to recognise at which stage of the process the lapse in duty occurred.

  • In some cases, such as a C-Section birth, the surgeon performing the surgery can cause damage to other organs,
  • In other instances, an Anaesthetist can cause damage, especially in cases where Epidurals are administered into the spine.
  • Sometimes Midwifery issues can occur such as tears and ruptures.
  • Similarly, doctors can miss out on important blood tests which detect genetic and developmental issues.

In all the above instances, the employers of the professionals will be responsible for issues such as compensation. Speaking to a professional about your particular circumstance shall help them identify who is responsible and whom the claim is to be brought to.

What can I claim for after suffering birth injury and trauma?

You can make a compensation claim for not only the trauma and negative impact on your health but also other costs such as:

General & Special Damages – This includes compensation for the Professional and Institution’s negligence and compensation for procedural and equipment failures which caused injury.

Future Medical Care – You can claim for any future medical expenses or healthcare expenses such as specialist healthcare or rehabilitation or ongoing care.

Travel expenses – All transportation costs related to the birth injury are included in this.

Funeral costs – In the event of death, this covers funerary costs.

How much compensation could you receive?

The amount of money you get as compensation will be entirely dependant on the severity of the breath of duty of care. It will also depend on the severity of injury, any future impact and recovery. However, as a rough guide below is a table to help you with a rough estimate:

Cerebral PalsyMost Severe£200k – £1m+
Brain InjuryMost Severe£180k – £1m+
Organ InjuryMost Severe£3k – £100k+
Psychiatric InjuryMost Severe£2k – £68k+

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If you or a loved one has suffered an injury during child birth we can help. Our team of experts have handled hundreds of successful claims for negligence during child birth. We also deal with matters on a no win no fee basis, which means you do not have to pay anything out of your pocket if you lose. Speak to our team today by calling 0800 285 1411 or complete an online enquiry form now.

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