Monmouthshire Woman Instructs Medical Negligence Lawyers To Investigate As She Supports Birth Trauma Awareness Campaign
A mum has revealed the impact a bladder injury suffered during childbirth has had on her life.
Laura Price suffered the injury during the birth of her first child Billy at the Royal Gwent Hospital in Newport.
Hours after giving birth, the 34-year-old of Caldicot, Monmouthshire, Wales, started complaining of bladder problems. However, she was sent home two days after giving birth without being reviewed by a doctor.
A further two days after her discharge Laura was re-admitted to hospital and had a catheter fitted for two days.
Wales mum diagnosed with bladder injury
Over the coming weeks Laura continued to experience problems and had to self-catheterise up to 11 times a day.
Three months after giving birth Laura underwent a procedure and was diagnosed with an over distension injury to her bladder. Her symptoms persisted and she had to self-catheterise for nearly a year.
Monmouthshire teachers asks lawyers to investigate
Laura, a schoolteacher, has instructed expert medical negligence lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to help her access the specialist support and therapies she requires to overcome her physical and psychological injuries.
The legal experts are investigating her care under Aneurin Bevan University Health Board, which runs Royal Gwent Hospital, and whether more could have been done to prevent her injury.
As a result of her injury Laura is at lifelong risk of developing recurring bladder issues and water infections, Irwin Mitchell say in papers submitted to the High Court.
Laura and legal team support Birth Trauma Awareness Week
Laura, who is supporting Birth Trauma Awareness Week, has spoken of her hope that legal proceedings in the High Court will provide her with answers. She also wants to raise awareness of the impact birth trauma can have on parents.
Aneurin Bevan University Health Board has denied liability for Laura’s injury.
Kate Easy is a specialist medical negligence lawyer at Irwin Mitchell’s Cardiff office representing Laura.
Expert Opinion“Laura has faced an incredibly difficult few years with the effects of the injury she suffered during childbirth greatly impacting on her life.
“Through our work we continue to see mothers and babies suffering unnecessary injuries during labour. Understandably Laura has a number of concerns about what happened to her and whether more could have been done to prevent her injury.
“While nothing can make up for what she’s been through we’re determined to support Laura and provide her with the answers she deserves.
“Birth Trauma Awareness Week is an incredibly important campaign in shining a light on the issues mums can face and the help and support available.
“If during the course of our investigations any issues are identified in the care Laura received, it’s vital that lessons are learned to improve patient safety.” Kate Easy - Senior Associate Solicitor
Birth injury: Laura Gibbs' story
Laura, who is married to Steve Price, 38, had pregnancy induced high blood pressure. She was admitted to hospital on 9 November, 2018, for a planned induction of labour.
At around 8.30pm on 12 November she was transferred to the labour ward and had her waters broken.
At around 5am on 13 November, Laura was in the second stage of labour and active pushing started. However, there was no real advancement in Laura’s labour and steps were not taken quickly enough to deliver, her legal team argue.
Following a review by a doctor Laura was transferred to theatre at 9am with Billy delivered via forceps an hour later.
A catheter fitted during labour was removed at 6pm. However, Laura complained of bladder problems. She was sent home from hospital on the afternoon of 15 November, 2018, without a review by doctors.
Laura underwent a community midwife review on 16 and 17 November in which she raised concerns about her symptoms. She visited hospital on 18 November to have a catheter fitted.
After this was removed Laura self-catheterised between eight and 11 times a day, court papers say.
Through 2019 Laura continued to self-catheterise but this stopped by the end of the year.
However, after falling pregnant with her second child Bertie in 2020 Laura’s symptoms returned and she had to self-catheterise again.
Case lodged in High Court
In court documents Irwin Mitchell argues several breaches of duty by the Health Board. These include that in accordance with National Institute for Health and Care Excellence a delay in Laura’s second stage labour should have been suspected by 6.30am and diagnosed at 7am. If the delay in labour had been diagnosed by 7am Laura would have been reviewed and Billy delivered by 8am.
Lawyers say the prolonged second stage labour caused Laura’s bladder injury during birth.
Laura’s legal team also argue that if a bladder scan had been performed by midnight on 13 November, 2018, it would have shown Laura to be retaining urine. A catheter would have been fitted; Laura would have undergone monitoring and would not have suffered ongoing symptoms.
They add Laura should not have been discharged from hospital on 15 November without being reviewed by a doctor.
Laura reveals how birth injury has affected her
Laura said: “When you go into hospital to have a child you never expect this sort of thing to happen.
“It was only a few hours after giving birth that I started feeling something wasn’t right. I felt like I needed to pass water but wasn’t able to. I was surprised when I was sent home without being reviewed by a doctor as I still didn’t feel right.
“My symptoms continued not only for a few weeks but months. The longer they went on the more they affected me, not just physically but emotionally. I suffered pain and discomfort as well as embarrassment as to what I was going through. Before I was relatively fit and healthy and in my 30s and suddenly I was having to self-catheterise up to 11 times a day.
“Even now I still don’t feel right. Although I don’t have to self-catheterise at present it feels like the prospect of having to do so remains hanging over me.
“Nothing can make up for what I’ve been through but I feel I deserve answers to the concerns I have.
“Initially I felt embarrassed but the more I researched about birth trauma the more I realised other women are affected. While it’s still a subject some women may not feel comfortable talking about I hope that by speaking out I can help raise awareness of the help and support that’s available. Women shouldn’t have to go through something like this alone.”
Birth trauma support available
Birth Trauma Awareness Weeks runs until Sunday, 24 July.
The charities MASIC and Make Birth Better support women affected by birth trauma.
A court hearing to set down case management is due to be listed in Cardiff High Court.