£30,000 Settlement After Hospital Admits Leaving Swab In Patient Following C-Section

Mum Describes Christmas Day Agony Of Emergency Surgery

26.08.2010

A 28 year old Warwickshire woman, who suffered excruciating abdominal pain after surgeons left a swab inside her following a caesarean, has received £30,000 in an out of court settlement.

As a result of the blunder - following the birth of her first child, Tegan, on 2nd December 2007 - Amy Callaghan, from Rugby, was left in agony and barely able to move.

Now, a medical law expert from Irwin Mitchell solicitors who represented Amy, has called on the hospital to improve its surgical procedures and learn lessons from the mistake.

Amy Callaghan was admitted to Coventry and Warwickshire’s University Hospital to undergo an emergency caesarean after her labour failed to progress. After spending three days on the post-natal ward, Amy was sent home on 5th December.

However, two weeks after being discharged, Amy began to feel stabbing pains in her right side.  She was in terrible pain and could feel a lump in her abdomen. Despite raising concerns with her midwife, she was told that there was nothing to worry about. 

Amy’s condition gradually began to deteriorate. She constantly felt unwell, had dizzy spells and found it difficult to move.

By Christmas Eve, Amy’s condition had not improved and, unable tolerate the pain any longer, she saw her GP who examined her and urgently referred her back to University Hospital.

There, an x-ray and ultrasound scan revealed that a swab from the caesarean section had been left inside her and needed to be removed as soon as possible.

Amy was told to return the next day to undergo emergency surgery and was also told to stop breastfeeding Tegan due to the antibiotics she required. Rather than spending her first Christmas with her baby daughter, Amy returned to University Hospital on Christmas Day to have the swab removed, leaving her partner Kirk Bromley to look after Tegan.

University Hospitals Coventry & Warwickshire NHS Trust has now accepted liability for Amy’s injuries and has awarded her £30,000 in an out of court settlement.

Commenting on the ordeal, Amy said: “The birth of my first child should have been a time of great excitement but instead it turned into a nightmare. I was so ill after Tegan was born. I was trying my best to be a good mum but I was in such agony that I hardly had the strength to look after myself let alone her.

“I’m very angry that all the pain and heartache I suffered was caused by such a basic error which should never have been allowed to happen.”
 
Guy Forster, a medical negligence expert with Irwin Mitchell Solicitors said: “There was clearly a fundamental failure to properly care for Amy during the initial surgery. In addition to the need for an emergency operation, Amy has been left traumatised and is at a greater risk of developing problems in the future.

“Mistakes like this simply should not happen. We very much hope that this incident has prompted the hospital to re-evaluate its safety procedures during surgery to ensure that lessons are learned and such an error does not happen in the future.”