If you received substandard medical care while giving birth, and this has caused you to suffer unnecessary injury, you will be able to sue the hospital in question. Contact a medical negligence solicitor to find out more.
When can I claim for a birth injury?
Medical negligence means that a patient has suffered harm because of substandard medical care.
To make a successful medical negligence claim, you must be able to establish two things:-
Firstly, you must prove that medical professionals breached their duty of care towards you. This means that doctors and/or nurses provided a level of care that would be considered unacceptable by a reasonable body of medical men.
For example, if a registrar performs a midline episiotomy, it would be considered unacceptable by a reasonable body of obstetricians, as midline episiotomies are no longer practiced in the UK. Another example is a failure to diagnose a third or fourth degree tear. Again, this would be deemed unacceptable, as midwives and doctors should be able to detect such injuries.
Secondly, you must prove that this breach of duty caused an injury to occur. Using the above scenarios, it may be that a negligent episiotomy caused a third or fourth degree tear, which could otherwise have been avoided. Or it may be that a missed tear causes problems such as incontinence, which would have been prevented with a timely repair.
Therefore a link between the breach of duty and the injury must be established. If this can be achieved, you will be legally entitled to pursue a claim against the hospital in which you gave birth.
How do I know if I can claim?
Clinical negligence is a complicated area of the law. It is not always obvious that you are entitled to take legal action, particularly as the hospital will rarely admit blame.
To find out if you can pursue a claim against the hospital you gave birth in, you need to contact a solicitor – preferably one that has considerable experience in birth injury claims. After discussing the details of the birth and the injuries you sustained, a solicitor will be able to suggest what options are open to you.
If you are able to make a medical negligence claim, your solicitor will begin the process on your behalf, working to secure the compensation you deserve.
It is important not to delay in seeking legal advice as claims must be brought within three years of the event. This will usually be three years from the date you gave birth, or from the date you became aware of the injury.