We acted for a client who was aware during her c- section despite the administration of a spinal anaesthetic.
She was to have this child – her third – by c- section. The anaesthetist administered spinal anaesthetic and then tested its efficacy using pinpricks and ice. When asked, our client informed the anaesthetist that she still had sensation from her navel upwards. The anaesthetist told our client that he would allow “a little more time” for the anaesthetic to work.
After about 3 – 5 minutes, the anaesthetist advised the obstetrician that it was safe to proceed with the delivery. He had not first retested our client again to ensure that the anaesthesia had taken effect.
Whilst not feeling the initial incision, our client felt everything that was subsequently done. Our client described being able to feel the obstetrician’s hands inside her uterus, she experienced excruciating pain and felt like she “was being torn apart from the inside”. Epidural anaesthesia was attempted but was unsuccessful. The delivery lasted 46 minutes.
Our client developed PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) and a major depressive disorder as a result of her experience.
The opinion of an independent anaesthetist was obtained – that expert coming to the view that the anaesthetist in the case had breached his duty of care by failing to administer a sufficient dose of anaesthesia and allowing the delivery to proceed without proper testing. The expert also considered that the delivery should have been ceased or a general anaesthetic administered when it was clear our client was in so much pain.
We obtained a successful outcome for our client prior to her matter going to hearing and conducted the matter on a ‘no win no fee’ basis.