Case study: Failure to Give Epidural During Birth Causes Psychological Damage

Compensation: £17,500

Louise, 30, Essex

JMW's expertise has helped a woman secure £17,500 compensation for the psychological damage caused after her epidural was delayed.

Louise, 30, of Essex suffered psychological scars from childbirth and now no longer wants further children after a delay in giving her an epidural during an extremely painful birth. 

Louise was having regular contractions when she attended hospital with her husband Kyle at about 4pm. The couple were advised that Louise was suitable for a birth in the midwifery-led unit and they were taken there for the progression of labour. 

An hour-and-a-half had passed before Louise was assessed by a midwife. By this point Louise was 5cm dilated and given two codeine tablets to assist with the pain. There was no mention of any issues with the baby’s position and Louise was advised to move around and to use a birthing ball. 

Slow and painful labour

Several hours passed and Louise began to feel an extremely strong urge to push. The midwife told her she must not do so and advised once again for Louise to keep mobile. A short time later Louise was examined and was found to be 8cm dilated. The midwife mentioned for the first time that her cervix was swollen and that the baby was in the ‘back-to-back’ position. Louise repeatedly asked what she could do to help bring the baby down due to the unbearable pain and was advised to keep mobile and bounce on the birthing ball. 

Louise’s labour continued to progress slowly and extremely painfully through the night and in the early hours of the next day she was moved to the delivery unit. Here Louise was given a drug called Syntocinon to speed up her contractions. The drug caused Louise’s contractions to become very quick, creating incredible pain due to the pressure on her already swollen cervix. Louise was now instructed not to stand up or move because of the swelling, which she and her husband were shocked to hear given the earlier advice to stay mobile. 

Signs of distress

As the contractions continued at a fast pace, there began to be signs that the baby was in distress. Louise was in such agony that she requested an epidural, which was not given until much later. A decision was made to increase the Syntocinon, which was followed by increasingly erratic fetal heart rate. A consultant later advised that the Syntocinon dose be reduced and should never have been so high in the first place. Only hours after the Syntocinon was started did Louise get an epidural for pain relief. It was argued this should have been given before the Syntocinon was started

Trauma of childbirth

After being in labour for 14 hours and in extreme pain and distress for at least nine of those, while also losing a litre of blood, Louise was taken for an emergency caesarean. Her baby was born successfully but Louise has never recovered from the trauma of childbirth.

Her case against the hospital was settled by one of JMW’s expert solicitors for £17,500.  

Contact us if you have suffered in a similar manner

Have you suffered psychological issues during childbirth due to medical staff failures? Contact JMW today either by our online enquiry form or by telephone on 0800 054 6512 and let us help you move forward with your claim.

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