Our client was left with very significant physical and psychological injuries, unable to work in her chosen field, needing further surgery, unable to care properly for her family, and at times needing a wheelchair after experiencing maternal birth trauma during the birth of her first child.
We helped our client to successfully settle her claim for damages against a regional NSW health service, claiming a hospital obstetrician and other medical staff breached their duty of care.
A traumatic birth
Our client was admitted to hospital in active labour and found to be 3cm dilated. The baby was in the cephalic position. Her membranes were artificially ruptured, and she was placed on an intravenous Syntocin infusion.
No vaginal examinations were carried out for almost four hours to determine the dilation of the plaintiff’s cervix nor the position of the baby. When a student midwife finally examined her, our client was 9cm dilated and the baby was in a frank breech position.
Our client was prepared for a lower section c-section (LSCS) – the safest means of delivery given the fact that the baby was in the breech position. Our client was consented for the LSCS and given intramuscular pethidine. Twenty minutes later our client was seen by a consultant – the defendant – who decided to deliver the baby vaginally without any consultation with our client.
Disorientated, frightened and anxious – particularly for the safety of her baby – our client’s demands to know why the plan had changed were met with abuse from the obstetrician.
She had her legs forcibly placed into stirrups which caused a right hip labral injury. Without proper pain relief she was left in agony as an episiotomy was performed. Our client suffered perineal tears and needed extensive suturing.
Ongoing trauma and consequences
In the coming months, our client had continuing psychological symptoms and was eventually diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
The extensiveness of her tearing meant she had to have further gynaecological surgery.
Her hip injury destabilised her gait and at one stage, she fell leaving her with an ankle injury. The two injuries impaired her ability to walk, sit and stand leaving her dependent on a walking stick, walking frame and sometimes a wheelchair.
Our client’s disabilities meant she had to heavily rely on her husband and mother to carry out domestic chores and general activities of daily living as well as the care of her young child.
During the birth she was placed in a terrifying position from which she has never recovered. It was a traumatic incident which totally changed her outlook on life and rendered her almost unrecognisable from the outgoing young woman she had been.
The former childcare worker was no longer able to work in the industry she loved. Socially isolated, she was unable to look after herself, her husband or children. The ordeal severely impacted on her marriage.
Damages for medical negligence
We sought damages in a case brought in the Supreme Court of NSW for non-economic and economic loss including out of pocket expense as well as her need to fund occupational therapy aids, domestic care, and future medical treatment. The case was resolved for a large sum.
If you or a loved one has experienced injuries as a result of birth trauma, our caring, expert female lawyers can help advocate for you and seek justice. Please talk to us about the options available to you.