Birth Trauma Association Campaign
Medical law specialists from Irwin Mitchell solicitors are backing a national campaign to raise awareness of the problems caused by birth trauma.
The law firm is supporting National Birth Trauma Awareness Day, being organised by national charity, the Birth Trauma Association (BTA), which takes place on Saturday August 21st.
Ahead of this year’s BTA Day, Guy Forster, a medical law expert at Irwin Mitchell’s Birmingham office, said: “The Birth Trauma Association is a charity which provides a great deal of comfort for those families whose lives have been affected in this way, and Birth Trauma Awareness Day is one of the many ways they draw attention to the devastating impact it can have.
“Traumatic births are far more common than people realise and although the outcomes are varied, they are all deeply distressing for the families involved.
“Our Medical Law team handles a number of cases involving traumatic births, often where babies have been left stillborn or severely disabled at birth. Additionally we deal with women who have been left with both physical and psychological injuries as a result of a traumatic birth.
“In all cases, a great deal of support is required to help families negotiate their way through the various organisations who obviously try to provide help but are limited in what they can do by restricted resources.”
Birth Trauma Awareness Day is run by the Birth Trauma Association, a national charity which supports all women who have had a traumatic birth experience – for more information visit http://www.birthtraumaassociation.org.uk/
A Coventry mother-of-two suffered such severe internal injuries after the birth of her youngest son that she required extensive surgery and required a colostomy for two years.
Following a Trial at Birmingham County Court, which took place in January 2009, HHJ Charles Harris QC found that that a doctor at the George Elliot Hospital in Nuneaton failed to examine her properly and did not realise the true extent of the internal damage she had suffered. As a result, a hole or “fistula” in her vaginal and rectal wall developed and she required major surgery.
After giving birth to son, Ryan, on 17th June 2004, 35 year old Karen underwent surgery which was meant to repair the tear and was discharged home the following day.
However, in the days that followed, Karen found that she was in agony whenever she went to the toilet. Eventually, unable to stand the pain any longer she went back to hospital where it was discovered that the tear was far more extensive than doctors had identified. As a result Karen had to undergo major surgery to repair the tear and required a colostomy.
As a result of the failures in care, Karen not only suffered physically but also psychologically.
Karen instructed medical law expert, Guy Forster, from Irwin Mitchell Solicitors, to pursue a claim for damages against the Trust and, after a 4 year battle, the Court found that the doctor had been negligent and that, with adequate care, she would not have required major surgery.
Karen explains: “I was in such agony and was so embarrassed by my condition. A colostomy is not something you think you will need at just 29 years of age.
“I found it very difficult trying to care for myself let alone look after baby Ryan and my older daughter Sian. If it had not been for the help and support of my Mum and partner Scott, I don’t know what I would have done.
“The whole family has been through hell as a result of what happened.”
As a result of what happened to her, Karen is also calling for more parents to be aware of the help available from the Birth Trauma Association.
She added: “In the months after Ryan’s birth I felt very isolated. At the time I didn’t know about the Birth Trauma Association, but having another parent to talk to who has experienced similar emotions would have been a real life-line.”