March 7, 2023

Compensation secured for mum who suffered bladder damage during birth of second child

During E’s second pregnancy, she was confident that consultant led care would identify any complications. However, a series of errors led to her sustaining a permanent bladder injury.

E suffered from urinary retention and postpartum bleeding after her first delivery and was therefore referred to a consultant during her second pregnancy when she was 32 years old.

During labour she believed that the team would act appropriately on those risks that had been identified. Despite E receiving an epidural and intravenous fluids, the delivery team failed to manage the catheterisation of her bladder correctly. Late that evening when she had regained sensation in her legs, she discovered that she was unable to pass urine.

Over the next few days the catheter was repeatedly inserted and removed prematurely and E’s bladder became stretched and over-full meaning that it could not recover. It was devastating for E to have to go home with a catheter still in place when all she wanted was to concentrate on her new baby.

E was back in hospital after a week, undergoing treatment for urosepsis brought on by the prolonged presence of the catheter and once again the management of her ‘bladder training’ was inappropriate. Eventually, E returned home with a box of catheters and advice to empty the bag every 3 to 4 hours. During this time, E felt very alone. She was not referred to a local bladder and bowel service as she should have been and although the community midwife offered her advice, it wasn’t long before E had been discharged from that service. After a couple of weeks, E was no longer using the catheter but had to remember to empty her bladder every few hours. She still had no feeling in her bladder and so had to do this by actively bearing down.

How E’s life changed

Over time, E has started to experience pain when her bladder is full but other than this still has no sensation. Although she has been able to go back to work, she must still actively empty her bladder every few hours. E has now been advised that her condition is unlikely to improve due to the way her bladder was repeatedly stretched and the knock-on effect that this had to her muscles and nerves that control it. As an otherwise healthy woman in her 30s, she has now rejected the idea of a planned third pregnancy and she worries about how her condition might affect her when she is older.

The role of medical experts

Medical experts play a crucial role in cases like these. We engaged the services of a Consultant Obstetrician & Gynaecologist with a specialisation in urogynaecology. He identified several clear flaws in E’s care which caused her injury. This meant that the defendant Trust was obliged to admit liability before court proceedings were commenced. We then entered negotiations to secure damages for our client. Once again, our expert’s evidence would be important. A condition and prognosis report outlines the extent of our client’s injuries and how their health is likely to improve or deteriorate in the future. This is an important consideration when quantifying damages. This strongly supportive evidence helped us secure £60,500 for E.

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