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Medical Negligence
Birth Injury Medical Negligence

What Is Birth Injury Medical Negligence?

The birth of a child should be a joyous time for all the family. However, occasionally not everything goes to plan, and complications arise that can cause serious damage to both mother and baby. While difficulties during childbirth are sometimes unavoidable, there are cases in which problems could have been prevented by medical staff if the correct action had been taken. If you feel you or your child has suffered during childbirth as a consequence of medical negligence, you may be entitled to compensation.

Types of Birth Injury Claims

Some of the most common types of injury sustained during birth are described below:

Injuries to the mother:

Episiotomy Complications
While not always deemed necessary, an episiotomy is sometimes performed during childbirth in order to prevent a natural tear to the vagina occurring. The procedure essentially involves a cut through the perineum so as to enlarge the vagina. After the delivery of the child this cut is then closed with sutures.

After an episiotomy complications can occur, including: bleeding, swelling, infection, the tear extending to the rectum, pain caused by bruising, pain during sexual intercourse, defects in wound closure, and in extreme cases incontinence.

Vaginal Tears
If it is apparent that the baby is too big to be born without causing a vaginal tear, then the medical team should carry out an episiotomy. If they neglect to do so, the mother tears 'naturally', which can cause significant pain and long term complications. While first and second degree tears usually cause no lasting damage, third and fourth degree tears can lead to more serious problems.

A third degree tear involves the vaginal tissue, perineal skin, and perineal muscles that extend into the anal sphincter although the rectal mucosa remains intact. Long term effects include discomfort when going to the toilet, and pain during sexual intercourse.

A fourth degree tear is similar to a third degree tear, but the damage goes even deeper, tearing into the anal canal as well as into the rectum. As with third degree tears, the damage can lead to discomfort when going to the toilet, and pain during sexual intercourse.

Injuries to the baby:

Cerebral Palsy
Cerebral Palsy is a medical condition in which an abnormal development or an injury to the brain causes a disruption to nerve signals, creating problems with movement, co-ordination and posture.

Children can develop Cerebral Palsy as a direct result of birth injury, including: mistakes made during a forceps or vacuum extraction delivery, placental abruption, and umbilical cord complications.

Brachial Plexus Injury
The brachial plexus is a network of nerves, the function of which is to carry signals from the spine to the shoulder, arm, and hand.

During childbirth, brachial plexus injury can be caused by a forceful exertion of the baby from the birth canal such a high impact on the baby's shoulder then causes a stretching or even a tearing of the nerves.

Brachial Plexus injuries differ in severity, but symptoms can include a limp or paralysed arm, and a lack of feeling and/or muscle control in the hand and arm.

Umbilical Cord Complications
These complications can include umbilical cord prolapse, where the umbilical cord slips into the birth canal ahead of the baby, stopping the essential flow of blood from mother to child or umbilical cord compression, which sees the umbilical cord get wrapped around the baby's body (often the neck), reducing the amount of blood and oxygen received by the baby.

Infant Death
The most serious cases of birth injury result in infant death an emotionally traumatic experience for parents and family.

Other birth injuries can also include: spinal cord injuries, brain damage, facial palsy and fractured limbs.

How We Can Help You

As specialists in medical negligence and with over 25 years of experience, Glynns have dealt with all forms of birth injury, handling hundreds of compensation claims enquiries every year. We are always happy to speak to you early after the event to advise you on your rights, discuss what options you can take, and whether you can potentially make a claim for medical negligence.

If we cannot help you or you decide not take your enquiry further, we will make no charge for our time as we are always happy to provide advice when clients are in need.

What Do I Pay If I Make A Claim?

We will explain all of the possible funding options available to you when we speak with you, but broadly these can include the following:

  • Conditional Fees ("no win, no fee"). This allows you to make a claim without paying our legal costs and with an insurance policy protects you if you lose your claim.
  • Legal Expenses Insurance (possibly as part of your household insurance policy - we will check this for you)
  • Private Funding
  • Structured Payment Plans

Can We Help You With A Medical Negligence Enquiry?

Early legal assistance can be vital so please contact us if you would like to discuss your situation. Please call us free on 0800 234 3300 (or from a mobile 01275 334030) or complete our Online Enquiry Form.

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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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