Yes, there can be circumstances where the risks for PPH in pregnancy and/or labour were not appropriately identified and managed and ultimately the PPH was preventable. A birth injury solicitor will also investigate the management of the PPH to ensure that it was treatment was carried out appropriately and in a timely manner.
As birth injury solicitors ourselves, we help clients who have suffered PPH. Here is how we helped a client who suffered a secondary PPH after leaving hospital from a retained placenta:
Our client had her first baby by emergency caesarean section and three days later she returned home. Nine days after giving birth she suffered a secondary PPH. She returned to hospital and underwent an examination under anaesthetic where a small piece of placenta (retained product of conception) was removed. She returned home two days later. However, 24 days after giving birth she suffered a second post-partum haemorrhage where a hysterectomy was carried out to stop the bleeding. The failures in her care concerned not identifying and removing the whole placenta at the earlier examination. It was also admitted by the hospital that a hysterectomy was very radical and other methods of stopping the bleeding were not tried. It was accepted that had other methods been tried, a hysterectomy would have been avoided. Our client suffered from birth trauma and unable to enjoy the first precious months of her baby’s life. Having undergone a hysterectomy at an early age, it resulted in early onset menopause for which she needed to take hormone replacement therapy. The negligence also tragically prevented her from having any more children. We supported our client and achieved a sum of compensation for her (£70,000 rpi).
Here is an example of how we helped a client that suffered a primary PPH as a result of a negligently managed labour and delivery:
Our client was pregnant with her first child and had no complications during her pregnancy. Her labour progressed slowly and she was sent home at four centimetres dilated. She returned to hospital and at the final stages of labour, forceps were used to attempt to deliver the baby. Following the use of forceps , it was noted that the baby’s heart rate had slowed. The decision was then made to undertake an emergency caesarean section.
Following delivery, our client suffered a postpartum haemorrhage and needed several blood transfusions. The bleeding continued and she had a number of other procedures to attempt to stop the bleeding. These attempts were unsuccessful and our client underwent a full hysterectomy followed by an admission in the intensive care unit.
A claim was brought on the basis that she was negligently discharged her home when she was in established labour which caused the labour to be prolonged and increased the risk of post-partum haemorrhage. Furthermore, the forceps were not used properly and that they should have been used at an earlier point in the labour. We also investigation the procedures undertaken to stop the haemorrhage and found these to have been negligently carried out. Without these failings the haemorrhage and hysterectomy could have been avoided. We supported our client and achieved a sum of compensation for her (£150,000 rpi).
These are just two examples of the many maternal injury claims we work on. If you want to find out more about our expertise in this area, make sure to visit our maternal injury claims page.