Posted in Success Stories on 01 March 2011

On the 1st March 2011, the team concluded a High Court Action on behalf of a young mother who ruptured her bladder and uterus during the course of the delivery of her son at Waterford Regional Hospital in 2007.

The Plaintiff had a past obstetric history of two previous pregnancies at Waterford Regional Hospital.  Her first child a daughter was born in 2002 by emergency Caesarean Section, for fetal distress, following 51 hours of labour, with a birth weight of 8.72lbs.  The Plaintiff's second pregnancy in 2006 resulted in a miscarriage at 12 weeks gestation.

At an antenatal appointment in 2007, when the Plaintiff she was in her 36th week, she explained to the medical staff that as her first labour had been so protracted and eventually culminated in an emergency Caesarean Section, she requested that this time around, the mode of delivery would be by way of Caesarean Section.   However, the Consultant directed that the Plaintiff have a trial of labour (vaginal birth after caesarean ("VBAC")) and he effectively dismissed the Plaintiff's request for an elective Caesarean Section.

Of significance, the Plaintiff attended an antenatal appointment in 2007 when she was term + 1 week and an ultrasound scan was performed.  The scan indicated that the baby`s estimated weight was 9.4lbs.  According to our medical experts this weight estimate on its own, should have led to the mode of delivery being reconsidered.

The Plaintiff went into spontaneous labour in 2007 and she was admitted to hospital at 04:30 hours in active labour.  However, the labour was slow and then arrested (stopped) despite rupturing of the Plaintiff's membranes, (which would normally help to progress the labour).  Syntocinon (a hormone used to induce/enhance labour) was administered.  Because of the previous Caesarean Section, there was a danger that the syntocinon could cause a rupture of the old Caesarean scar and should have been carefully titrated.  However, despite the introduction of syntocinon, it failed to augment the labour.  Instead of proceeding to Caesarean Section, the hospital staff negligently allowed the Plaintiff to continue to labour and significantly increased the dose of syntocinon.  At a review at 13.45 hours the findings were that the Plaintiff was not in an optimum state to deliver. Nonetheless, the Plaintiff was advised to start pushing.  This caused the rupture of the Plaintiff's previous Caesarean Section scar and fetal collapse.  Despite the Plaintiff having an epidural top-up at 13.20 hours, the Plaintiff was severely distressed and reported upper abdominal pain.  In addition, the baby`s fetal heart rate dropped from 165 to 90 bpm.  Despite CTG evidence that the baby was now in fetal collapse, the medical staff inexplicably and contrary to all recognised obstetric standards and practice, ordered that the syntocinon dose be increased. Instead of taking the Plaintiff immediately to theatre for an emergency Caesarean Section, there was a further 10 minutes delay whilst the medical staff attempted a virtually impossible forceps delivery.  Almost two hours following the onset of breakthrough pain, at 12.45 hours, the Plaintiff was eventually transferred at 14.25 hours, to the operating theatre for an emergency Caesarean Section.  At 14:39 hours the baby was born in a poor condition, he had to be resuscitated and was admitted to the Special Baby Care Unit ("SBCU") The Plaintiff's uterus and bladder were repaired during the surgery.

By open letter dated the 20th July 2010, the Defendants admitted liability and on the morning of the trial, namely the 1st March, 2011, an offer was made to settle the Plaintiff's claim for a significant sum.

Sadly, the Plaintiff's baby was also injured and has subsequently been diagnosed with dystonic/dyskinetic cerebral palsy. Whilst he has profound physical disabilities and will never walk, fortunately he is intellectually intact.  Separate proceedings have been issued in the child's name and will be heard in the near future.

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