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Our renowned Medical Negligence team secured a lifetime care and rehabilitation package for a young mother from Wakefield who was left with permanent brain damage after she was given the wrong treatment when she haemorrhaged shortly after giving birth. Her case has also led to the NHS Trust concerned drawing up new guidelines to ensure that such a tragedy does not happen again.
Our client, Lucy, was only 25 when she was admitted to Pinderfield’s Hospital on New Year’s Eve 2013 to give birth to her daughter Millie. But the failure of the medical staff to handle a major haemorrhage after the delivery would leave her in a coma and cause irreversible brain damage.
Lucy lost six pints of blood in her post-partum haemorrhage. She was rushed to surgery and given a spinal anaesthetic: the use of this, instead of general anaesthetic, caused her to go into cardiac arrest. Her brain was starved of vital oxygen, which would have a devastating effect on the rest of her life.
Lucy fell into a coma – and when she woke up, almost a month later, it was only with limited movement. She was moved to Dearnevale Rehabilitation Unit, where she eventually began to regain some power of speech and response. However, she is still unable to walk and talk properly, and is completely dependent on her family for help and support with everyday tasks. Though she spends a lot of time with her daughter Millie, she is unable to provide the level of care she would have done.
Lucy’s husband, along with her parents, approached Irwin Mitchell’s Medical Negligence team to help investigate whether Pinderfields Hospital could have done more to prevent this tragedy.
The Mid-Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, which was responsible for the hospital where Millie was born, launched an internal inquiry into the events that led to Lucy’s condition, and found that there were a number of errors made by staff during Lucy's natal care. Crucial factors such as Lucy's high blood pressure were not monitored during her pregnancy, and a lack of senior staff on the ward meant that the wrong decisions were made in moving her to theatre and administering a spinal anaesthetic instead of a general one.
We secured a lifetime care package from the Trust to provide Lucy with the support she’ll need for the rest of her life. Among other things, the money will allow her family to make crucial adaptations to their house, so that she can return home to live with her daughter Millie full time.
Lucy’s case was handled by Rachelle Mahapatra, an expert medical negligence lawyer specialising in cases of birth injury. She said: "We are glad to have secured Lucy a substantial settlement from the Trust that will provide for her immediate and future needs."
“This is a truly tragic case that has left a young mum with devastating, permanent brain damage. Through our work we continue to see mothers and babies suffering unnecessary injuries as a result of a lack of resource or insufficient experience and training. Lessons must be learnt from any failings identified in individual cases and shared throughout the NHS to ensure patient safety is improved and the same mistakes are not repeated.”
Lucy’s mother Bev spoke of the family’s heartbreak and hopes for the future of maternity services.
“You never expect this sort of thing to happen during childbirth nowadays but Lucy is proof that it does. We have one hundred ‘what ifs’ about what more could have been done for her but we believe if maternity staff had more support and better training in crisis situations they would be better placed to react and provide the best possible care.
“We believe more needs to be done in improving services so no one else has to go through the same horrific ordeal and is left in the impossible situation we now face.”
If you or a loved one has suffered due to a delayed or misdiagnosed medical condition, our medical negligence solicitors could help you claim compensation. See our Medical Misdiagnosis Claims page for more information.
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