Catherine was injured in a car accident in Turkey. At the time, she was 18 weeks pregnant. She suffered multiple injuries including head, cervical and a seat belt injury across the abdomen. Luckily, the fetus was unharmed.
Catherine was transferred to The Royal London Hospital where her spinal and neurological injuries were treated.
Catherine was also seen by the obstetricians who were worried about her abdominal wound. The plastic surgeons were asked to advise as to what should be done at the Caesarean section in relation to the abdominal wound.
The consultant plastic surgeon wrote in the notes “if elective lower segment caesarean section then we will attend. If in emergency then do what is necessary and we will revise electively”.
An elective section was carried out but no plastic surgeon was asked to attend. The obstetrician made a repair to the abdominal wound.
Unsurprisingly, the abdominal wound became infected post-operatively. It broke down and ruptured. It was not until days later that she was seen by a plastic surgeon but it was too late.
Surgery to repair the defect was unsuccessful on two occasions and Catherine developed an extensive and disabling right sided herniation at the site of the defect and reconstruction.
Further surgery may be necessary but this was regarded as extremely difficult.
Catherine instructed Paul McNeil to pursue an obstetrics negligence claim.
We issued proceedings on behalf of Catherine for the failure of the obstetrician to arrange for a plastic surgeon to be present at the caesarean section and further for no plastic surgery follow-up for nine days following surgery.
Liability was denied and the matter had proceeded to trial.
The defendants initially paid £50,000 into court but after settlement negotiations, Catherine accepted £285,000 in damages, which included general damages of about £40,000. Catherine's legal costs were also covered by the defendants.
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