The cost of womb transplants will be claimed in medical negligence cases
The BBC and The Guardian have reported that the UK's first womb transplant under the care of Dr Richard Smith is likely to take place within the next year or so. Dr Smith has undertaken pioneering research at Imperial College London and now has been granted ethical approval for womb transplants in 10 individual cases. It is said that there are about 50,000 women of child bearing age in the United Kingdom born without a womb and of course these women will be regarded a priority for the trans formational surgery proposed by Dr Smith.
However, the proven success of the operation in Sweden means that in future claimant lawyers will consider seeking to recover the cost of a womb transplant either in the UK or in Sweden in claims against clinicians or other tortfeasors.
Fieldfisher have already referred clients to Swedish surgeons in cases to perform osseointegration surgery which improved the lives and mobility of victims who have suffered a loss of limb. We have been successful in recovering the costs of this from the insurers acting for the defendant.
There are many situations, especially in medical negligence claims, where a woman has lost her fertility as a result of negligence. We envisage seeking the costs of womb transplant surgery (assuming the individual meets Dr Smith's or the Swedish criteria) in the following types of cases:-
- Where there is a failure to diagnose pre-eclampsia or an infection during labour or after birth after birth which results in a delay in diagnosis and the necessity for a hysterectomy which otherwise would not have been performed.
- Where there is a rupture of the uterus either during labour or at Caesarean section operation which results in a hysterectomy.
- Where there has been a delay in diagnosis of cancer. In such situation radical surgery in the form of a hysterectomy is sometimes necessary to the remove the cancer at the cost of the woman's fertility. Earlier diagnosis can lead to lesser surgery avoiding infertility.
- Where there has been a "botched" termination of pregnancy which results in the necessity for a hysterectomy.
Fieldfisher have acted for clients who have suffered such injuries in the past.
The results of the womb transplantation have been astonishing. A 36 year old Swedish woman gave birth to a baby boy in September last year after receiving a donor womb from a 61 year old family friend who had previously given birth to two sons.
We hope that the devastating trauma resulting from the loss of fertility in women who have also suffered medical negligence in similar circumstances as above will be overcome by this ground breaking and inspiring surgery.
Dr Smith's trial needs to raise £500,000 before any operations can take place and perhaps funding provided by the defendants insurers may assist his work and the wishes of women becoming reality.
Sky News reports on womb transplants
By Paul McNeil, Head of Personal Injury and Medical Negligence
Paul McNeil has more than 25 years of experience in acting for those injured through medical negligence or personal injury accidents. His claims cover many areas, including: