We acted for a 24-year-old woman from regional NSW who sustained very severe physical and psychological injuries during the traumatic birth of her second child. In fact, our client’s injuries were so severe that the case had to be heard in the Supreme Court where damages are unlimited.
Our client was admitted to the regional hospital at 39 weeks gestation and in active labour. The doctor assessing her formed the view the baby was in the cephalic or ”head first” position. Artificial rupture of membranes was performed and Syntocin infusion commenced to augment labour. There was no review of our client for the next 4 hours. A student nurse observed at the end of this four hour period that our client was moving to second stage labour. A vaginal examination revealed our client to be 9 cms dilated and the baby in a frank breech position! An RMO was notified and the syntocin stopped. The decision was made to perform a lower section c-section forthwith. A few minutes later, our client was re-examined and found to be fully dilated. This necessitated an immediate change in plan with the attending doctor – without informing our client – deciding there was no time to perform a c-section and that a vaginal delivery needed to be performed.
Our client was rushed to theatre and forced into the extended lithotomy position – resulting in immediate and substantial pain and discomfort in her right hip and leg. Local anaesthesia was administered. An extensive episiotomy was performed causing what our client described as horrific pain. The attending doctor yelled several times at our client to ‘shut up and stop screaming.’ Our client suffered multiple and significant perineal tears.
After the birth, our client had to undergo several procedures to repair the birth injuries she had sustained including suturing of the vaginal wall, bringing the anal sphincter together with further suturing, suturing the perineal membrane and suturing the subcutaneous layer to the skin. Not only diagnosed with PTSD, our client was also later found to have suffered major injuries to her right hip: labral tear and trochanteric bursitis.
Our client received substantial compensation for her injuries.