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Case Study: Gauze Left In Body Following Episiotomy
A woman has been awarded £4,000 compensation after gauze was left in her body following a Episiotomy.
Lucy was pregnant with her first baby and attended hospital to be induced.. There were difficulties progressing labour and she required an episiotomy (cut into the perineum) and her baby was delivered by forceps delivery.
The episiotomy was repaired following the birth by a doctor. A check of the needles and swabs used was made by both the doctor and midwife and was signed off as correct.
Post surgery complications
Immediately following birth, Lucy suffered a haemorrhage and high heart rate. She was admitted to the High Dependency Unit for close monitoring. She was discharged home the following day but was experiencing soreness and discomfort on discharge home.
Two days later a midwife visited Lucy, who examined the episiotomy site and noted that it was healing well, although there was a small gaping area that was infected.
The following day, due to ongoing pain, Lucy called her GP, who visited her at home and found that one of the stitches had become loose, and there was an offensive smell with discharge from the episiotomy site. Lucy’s GP called the hospital who advised her GP to re-stitch the wound. Her GP also prescribed painkillers and antibiotics.
The following week, Lucy attended the hospital with ongoing symptoms. She was diagnosed with a water infection and infection of the episiotomy site. She was once again prescribed a course of antibiotics.
Lucy attended a post-birth check with her GP 10 weeks after giving birth. Her GP examined her and found a gauze swab was in place at the site of the episiotomy.
The Claimant’s GP called PALS at the Hospital; she was advised that would receive a call from the matron at the Hospital within two working days.
Lucy’s GP sent the swab to the hospital, who performed an internal investigation and confirmed that the swab that was found was likely to have been one used when her episiotomy was repaired. The report confirmed that this type of error constituted a “never event” and that the standard form used for checking swabs was not sufficient for the number of swabs used in Lucy’s case.
Lucy eventually made a full recovery.
The case was settled by one of JMW’s expert solicitors for £4,000.