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Severe Infection After Caesarean Section

A study published by the British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology has found that one in 10 women who give birth by caesarean section will develop an infection. This will of course be a considerable burden to a new mother who will be trying to recover from major surgery and look after a new born baby.

If this has happened to you, you will probably be wondering why it has occurred, and whether doctors could have done anything to prevent it. In this article we explore these questions, helping you to understand whether your infection was an unfortunate by-product of surgery, or the direct consequence of medical incompetence.

Does Severe Infection After Caesarean Section Amount To Negligence?

Many experts have expressed surprise at a recent study carried out by the Health Protection Agency which showed that each year around 15,000 women in England will suffer an infection after a caesarean section. Even so, post-partum infection is known risk of C-sections and the occurrence of an infection cannot necessarily be blamed upon the actions or inaction of medical practitioners. However, there are certain occasions in which doctors and nurses could have either prevented or limited the severity of an infection after a caesarean section. This include if:-

1. A mother is already displaying signs of infection

If a mother goes into labour and begins to suffer symptoms such as fever, a fast pulse and blood pressure abnormalities, medical professionals should immediately recognise the possibility of infection. A blood test and a vaginal swab should be carried out to confirm whether this suspected diagnosis is correct. If so, no time should be wasted in administering intravenous antibiotics, as this is instrumental in preventing additional complications occurring (such as wound infection). If there is any uncertainty, or a mother is thought to be at risk of developing an infection, antibiotics should be given as a precaution.

2. The wrong antibiotics are administered

Different infections respond to different antibiotics. This means it is important to establish what type of bacteria is present. For example, if there are signs of a Group B Streptococcus infection, Penicillin must be provided without delay. If a mother is allergic to Penicillin, the next best option will be Clindamycin. If the wrong type of antibiotic is given, it will be of little use in treating the infection.

3. A wound infection is not diagnosed in a timely fashion

Even if the aforementioned steps are taken and a C-section is carried out with the necessary skill and expertise, it is still possible for a wound infection to occur. That is why it is so important for nurses to monitor a patient's vital signs and C-section wound, as this will signal whether an infection has developed. For example, a new mother may suffer a fever and raised temperature, while the wound may appear red, inflamed, blistering and sloughy. If so, a swab should immediately be sent for analysis and treatment provided. But if there is a failure to act quickly, the wound will break-down and a severe infection will follow.

Have you got a medical negligence claim?

If you have suffered a severe infection after a caesarean section for any of the reasons described above, you could be the victim of a substandard level of medical care. This means you will be entitled to pursue a claim which, if successful, will ensure you are properly compensated for your pain and suffering. For more information, you need to contact a solicitor as soon as possible.

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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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