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Failed Sterilisation Claims

Failed Sterilisation Claims

After deciding her family is complete, a woman may decide to undergo a sterilisation procedure a safe and effective method of contraception that cannot easily be reversed. It is a big decision to make, and one that is not often taken lightly. That is why it is all the more traumatic when a woman subsequently falls pregnant. When this happens, it is vital to know how the sterilisation failed, and who (if anyone) is to blame.

How Can A Sterilisation Fail?

A sterilisation procedure can fail for both negligent and non-negligent reasons. In terms of the latter, it is possible for the fallopian tubes naturally grow back together over time medically referred to as recanalisation. This is a known hazard of sterilisation, and a woman should be informed of the risk before she consents to surgery. It is therefore an unforeseeable occurrence and little can be done to prevent it.

On the other hand, a woman may find her procedure has failed because medical professionals have acted negligently. This can often be attributed to a surgeon who has failed to perform the operation correctly. Ordinarily, a Filshie Clip will be attached to each of the fallopian tubes, therefore preventing the egg from reaching the uterus. Photos will then be taken to ensure they have been fitted properly. However, if a surgeon either fails to attach the clips appropriately, or neglects to take photographic evidence, the standard of care will have fallen below an acceptable level.

Along with negligently performed procedures, a sterilisation can also fail due to medical errors such as:-

  • Failing to carry out a pregnancy test before the operation;
  • Failing to provide adequate counselling before the operation;
  • Causing physical injury during the operation and failing to repair the damage;
  • Failing to advise a patient on the need to use contraception for one month after the operation.

Failed Sterilisation and Medical Negligence Claims

If you undergo a sterilisation procedure and subsequently fall pregnant, it will undoubtedly come as quite a shock. It will also leave you with the agonising decision over what you should do next: do you have a termination, or do you continue with the pregnancy? Whatever decision to choose, you will have suffered a great deal of emotional distress and all because medical professionals failed to provide an acceptable level of skill and expertise.

However, you may be able to recompense for the pain and suffering you have endured, as you could be entitled to make a medical negligence claim. While this won't undo the trauma you have encountered, it will at least allow you to claim compensation for damage caused by the wrongful conception (ie. you have a termination) or the wrongful birth (ie. you give birth to your unplanned baby).

In terms of wrongful birth, there has been much debate over how much compensation should be awarded. The courts have, however, agreed upon a sum of £15,000 for the loss of the right to control you family, plus £5,000 for the pain and suffering of pregnancy and childbirth. Additional compensation will be awarded for special damages, which relates to the acute financial loss you have incurred. This may include a loss of earnings during maternity leave and the cost of one-off pieces of equipment such as a pram. However, the sum will not cover the expense of bringing up a child.

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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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