Childbirth is typically a happy and joyous occasion and, while it’s completely normal to feel anxious as you approach your due date, in the majority of situations, doctors are utterly devoted to keeping both you and your baby healthy and safe.
However, unfortunately, sometimes standards of care slip, opening mother and baby up to risks of injury. In these situations, it may be possible to make a compensation claim if you or your baby are injured as a result of negligent or reckless medical treatment, including injuries caused as a result of a caesarean section.
What is a caesarean section?
A caesarean section (also referred to as a ‘C-section’) is a surgical procedure which involves delivering a baby through an incision in the mother’s lower abdomen (tummy area). Caesarean sections can either be planned or unplanned.
Although vaginal births represent the majority of childbirths in the UK, around 25% of pregnant women actually have a caesarean birth. As with other surgical procedures, caesarean sections carry low risks which can range from minor scarring and infection to severe and life-threatening injury to both mother and baby.
Why might someone need a caesarean section?
Some circumstances in which a mother may need a caesarean section include where:
- The baby is in the breech position (positioned feet first rather than head first) and the midwife or doctor has been unable to turn them
- The mother’s pelvis isn’t wide enough to safely deliver the baby
- The mother has pre-eclampsia (high blood pressure during pregnancy)
- The mother has a low-lying placenta
- The baby isn’t receiving enough oxygen requiring immediate delivery
- The labour isn’t progressing as it should or the mother is excessively bleeding
- The mother has infections such as untreated HIV
Women can also request a caesarean section, for example, if they feel anxious about giving birth, after a detailed discussion with their midwife and doctors.
When can you claim compensation for C section injuries?
As long as your injuries were caused as a result of the C section, and those injuries were reasonably foreseeable, you may be able to make a medical negligence compensation claim.
Some scenarios in which medical negligence might arise include:
- Your healthcare team failed to properly monitor you or the baby during your pregnancy and/or did not make appropriate plans for the birth
- Your doctor delayed performing a C section or failed to recommend one entirely, resulting in injury to mother and/or baby
- You or your baby contracted an infection after the C section which your healthcare professionals failed to diagnose or treat promptly or properly
- Surgical errors occurred causing injuries such as nerve damage or damage to other areas such as the bladder
- Scarring or infection caused by negligent stitching during surgery
- Anaesthesia errors occurred
Do you need advice about injuries caused during childbirth?
You may be able to claim compensation for injury during childbirth if your doctor or another medical professional acted negligently or recklessly before, during, or after the delivery.
In order to do so, it’s important to consult a professional childbirth injury solicitor with specific experience in injuries after a birth to make a medical negligence claim on your behalf.
Depending on the severity and impact of the injuries, you could receive substantial compensation for things like:
- Pain and suffering
- Psychological conditions caused by the trauma of the birth
- Loss of earnings and/or earning potential
- The costs of care, childcare or home help
- The costs of travelling to and from medical appointments
We understand that recovering from childbirth and adapting to parenthood is exhausting and, in the event of a C-section, you will also be recovering from surgery. It’s therefore beneficial to consult a highly specialised childbirth injury solicitor, alleviating you of any unnecessary stress and giving you the best possible chance of receiving the compensation you deserve.