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Negligent Infection After a C-Section

The number of caesarean sections performed in the UK has doubled since 1990, and now accounts for one in four deliveries. But despite the procedure now being widely considered a routine operation, there are still risks involved, one of which is a post-operative infection.

Preventing caesarean section infections

To perform a caesarean section, the obstetric surgeon will need to make a large cut across your lower abdomen. Another incision will then be made to your womb, and this allows the baby to be removed. Both cuts will be stitched back together after the operation with dissolvable stitches.

A C-section does therefore leave a significant surgical wound. As with any surgical wound, this is prone to infection, as it provides a large break in the skin through which bacteria can enter. This is a known risk of caesarean sections, and medical professionals must remain vigilant to this possible complication, taking steps to prevent an infection occurring.

The most effective way of preventing a post-operative infection is to administer precautionary antibiotics before the C-section is performed. These are known as prophylactic antibiotics and should be given routinely if a woman is at risk of suffering an infection. This will include, for example, if a woman is overweight, under the age of 20 or already showing signs of infection.

Whether or not intravenous antibiotics are administered, doctors and midwives should monitor a patient's scar after the C-section has been performed. If there is any sign of infection for example, the scar is red and hot to touch treatment should be given before the problem gets any worse. Closely monitoring the patient is the only way to avoid a serious infection arising, and is something that community midwives and health visitors should continue to do once a patient is discharged from hospital.

Will an infection amount to medical negligence?

If medical professionals fail to take these steps and a patient develops a serious infection after a caesarean section, there may be a case of medical negligence. This will usually occur if:

  • Preventative (prophylactic) antibiotics were not administered when they should have been;
  • Medical professionals failed to monitor a patient;
  • Medical professionals failed to recognise signs of infection.

Claiming compensation for a negligent infection

If you or your loved one has suffered because of a post caesarean section infection and you believe medical professionals are to blame, you need to talk to a solicitor. A medical negligence lawyer will be able to suggest if you have been subject to a substandard level of medical care, and if so, will help you claim the compensation you deserve.

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