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Complications during a caesarean section

It is well established that the courts tend not to consider recognised complications when dealing with clinical negligence claims. However sometimes what starts as a recognised complication can become an actionable harm if the appropriate actions /procedures are not followed.

Injury to the bladder does not automatically suggest negligence however it can often raise questions over the seniority of the person carrying out the procedure and or what steps were taken to avoid such a complication occurring.

The female bladder overlies the cervix and it is therefore imperative that during surgery the bladder is reflected downwards to reduce the risk of damage. Often with women who have had a previous caesarean section, there will be adhesions ( scarring ) often dense, which can make it difficult to identify the bladder.

We recently concluded a case where the lady`s baby was essentially delivered through the bladder causing damage to the anterior and posterior walls. Whereas the first response from the NHSLA, as it then was, now the NHSR, was to deny liability on the basis that this was a recognised complication, through some thorough investigation we managed to secure a settlement on the basis of the level of competence of the operating surgeon.

Whilst it may be ok for the procedure to be started by a registrar once complications were encountered there was a duty to request assistance from a more senior surgeon. Such a failure represents a breach of the duty of care.

The importance of instructing lawyers who have a specialist medical knowledge cannot be understated. These are complex procedures and there often requires a forensic review of the records to find out exactly what has and hasn’t happened.

In our situation, although a Consultant was called in to assist the actions that were taken and the extent of the injury sustained led us to doubt the qualifications and experience alleged.

Often the checks in place for permanent medical staff are not carried out for Locums.

If you have concerns about a surgical procedure please give us a call on 0800 1979 345 or complete our online enquiry form, we are always willing to listen and have an excellent team on hand to help you claim the compensation you deserve.