Death of new mother due to poor standard of care

Carrie, aged 30, £200,000

Carrie was 30 when she was diagnosed with a very rare blood disorder which meant she needed to take large doses of steroids and other drugs that compromised her natural immune system.

She and her husband were very keen to start a family so when she became pregnant they were delighted. She continued her drugs throughout her pregnancy and was closely monitored by the hospital.

Carrie’s waters broke when she was 36 weeks pregnant and she was admitted to hospital for induction of labour. The first attempt was unsuccessful and it was not until 24 hours later that a second attempt was made. No antibiotics were given despite her reduced resistance to infection.

The labour progressed very slowly and eventually the decision was taken to perform a caesarean section, resulting in a healthy baby girl. A single dose of antibiotic was given during the surgery (as is standard procedure) but no further antibiotics were prescribed.

Carrie appeared to do quite well immediately post operatively but on day three she started to show signs of infection. Her condition deteriorated dramatically and despite being transferred to the intensive care unit, it was not possible to save her and she died of septic shock from an infection in her vagina.

The hospital ordered an external investigation of the case and the standard of care Carrie had received was severely criticised. The main thrust of the criticism was that Carrie had not been treated as very high risk and a care plan involving very close observation and senior clinical input had not been put in place. Had such a plan existed Carrie would have been much more closely observed and the signs of an impending infection picked up sooner. Also she would have received antibiotic cover from the time her waters broke.

The Trust offered no defence and the case was settled by one of the expert clinical negligence solicitors at JMW for £200,000.

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