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Birth Injury Case Studies

Swab Retained after Giving Birth

In February 2009, Maria gave birth to her second child. Soon afterwards, however, she began to experience a heavy discharge, along with a foul odour from her vagina.

Maria went into labour with her second child in the early hours of 6th February 2008. After being monitored for several hours, medical staff informed her she would not be able to give birth without assistance, and the decision was taken to deliver her son with the use of forceps. This resulted in her suffering a small vaginal tear, which was treated with the application of pressure, rather than stitches.

Maria and her newly born baby were then discharged from hospital the following day. However, by 8th February she began to notice an offensive odour coming from her vaginal discharge. Maria told the midwife, who checked her vaginal tear and said she was healing well.

Over the next couple of days the smell became increasingly worse, to such an extent that Maria felt too embarrassed to leave the house. Once again she informed the midwife, who this time expressed significant concern. A swab was taken, and Maria was diagnosed as suffering from an infection. Consequently she was prescribed antibiotics, meaning she could no longer breast-feed her son.

Upon completion of the antibiotics, Maria believed the smell had improved, but unfortunately within a week the smell had returned. Maria was prescribed more antibiotics, and was booked in for an emergency gynaecology appointment at the hospital.

During this appointment, the consultant noted that Maria's stomach was particularly tender. This prompted an internal examination, where it was found a swab had in fact been retained in Maria's vagina during the birth. It had been there for a total of five weeks without being diagnosed.

Maria was aware there are certain measures in place to prevent swabs being retained, and felt upset that it had happened to her. She contacted Glynns, and we instructed an expert who confirmed the hospital had failed to properly record the use of swabs during the birth, had failed to ensure that the swab was properly accounted for, and had failed to carry out a thorough examination of Maria prior to discharging her. As a result of this negligence, Maria sustained a vaginal infection and required repeated treatment of antibiotics. She also suffered emotional distress, particularly as she was unable to breast-feed her son.

We helped Maria file a medical negligence claim against the hospital for these damages, and she received over £5,000 compensation.

(Details which might identify our client have been changed)

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"Before we contacted you we had no real idea that we had grounds for a medical negligence claim but after speaking to you if became clear that Wendy was indeed treated poorly. Chris took the time to explain what was happening and kept us to speed. Our deepest gratitude to you all and Chris in particular."

"I would like to say a big thank you to you for making this whole process easy and relatively painless. You kept me informed throughout and you were always polite and courteous in all forms of communication. I would not hesitate to recommend you to friends and family, so a really big thank you and I wish you all the best in the future."

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