Compensation recovered for woman who did not give consent to treatment during childbirth

If you did not give your consent to treatment during childbirth or any other medical procedure then talk to our experienced legal team about your right to receive compensation. Call 0800 037 8020 or email [email protected]

Medical Negligence solicitor Caroline Webber-Brown has been assisting a mother who was left on antidepressants and suffering PTSD following the birth of her child. 

It is well known that labour can be extremely traumatic and although you are bringing a new life into the world, the path to birthing your child does not always run smoothly. 

Our client contacted us as she had not given consent to vaginal examinations, or an episiotomy being performed during her Labour. 

Her Story 

Our client was admitted into an East Sussex maternity ward, at 40 weeks pregnant. She had raised blood pressure, and excess amniotic fluid, so it was decided that she would be induced. 

The propess was inserted and by the next morning, her contractions had become stronger, and she was in active labour.

The midwife picked up a potential problem with the baby’s heart rate, so it was decided that our client would have a ventouse kiwi cup delivery, which she consented to.    

The obstetrician was called to assist and then proceeded to perform a number of vaginal examinations, which our client did not consent to. She repeatedly asked them to stop and to be informed before any internal examination was carried out.

As the delivery progressed, the obstetrician proceeded to perform an episiotomy without first discussing this with our client or advising her it was going to happen.  It was only when she felt the injection of anaesthetic in her perineum and heard the midwife mention her being cut, that she realised it was happening. 

She asked the obstetrician to stop and said that she did not want to be cut open and had not consented to this. Unfortunately, her request was too late, the episiotomy had been completed. Her daughter was born shortly afterwards. 

Consent to treatment during childbirth

Caroline managed to obtain her client’s medical records, which had notes from the matron on shift, along with the midwife, who both referred to our client not giving consent to treatment before the episiotomy was performed. 

She had consented to the vaginal examinations that had occurred early in her labour, as they were explained to her and she was able to process what would happen, but this was sadly not the case in the later stages of childbirth. 

As a result of this, our client has experienced severe anxiety, suffering flashbacks and heart palpitations whenever she thinks about the birth

This also occurs when she visits the hospital and needs to have any further examinations. Our client has been diagnosed with PTSD and post-natal depression, meaning she has been put on to anti-depressant tablets and has had to attend counselling sessions. It has also affected the intimacy with her partner. 

Our client’s main concern was that prior to the vaginal examinations and episiotomy procedure being carried out, she was not informed about the process, so she was not mentally ready for what was happening to her.

How settlement of the claim was reached

Caroline took this claim on under our popular no win no fee funding scheme. She contacted the NHS Trust and was successful in obtaining an early admission of liability. After a series of negotiations, Caroline managed to reach an out of court settlement in excess of £50,000 that our client accepted.  

Consent to treatment is a human right and one that should still be respected during childbirth. This includes the right to receive information so that an informed decision can be made. 

If you have gone through labour and have not given your consent to treatment, resulting in distress, or an injury to you or your baby, please contact our free helpline for a review of your case. 

 

Giving consent to treatment during childbirth