Worthingtons Solicitors

Case Study: bladder damage following delivery

Claire McDaid recently negotiated an out of court settlement for Ms K who sustained permanent bladder damage following Caesarean delivery in November 2016.

Ms K delivered her first baby following emergency C-section on 25 May 2015.  She was catheterised prior to delivery and returned to the ward in the early afternoon.  She was discharged home on 28 May 2015 but returned to hospital the following day complaining of serious discomfort and pain when trying to pass urine.  A bladder scan showed a large volume of liquor and 2.7 litres of urine was drained from the bladder.  Ms K was re-catheterised and prescribed IV antibiotic treatment.

Ms K was discharged home a number of days later with plans to remove the catheter in the weeks that followed however it was ultimately not removed until August 2015 at which time Ms K was taught to self-catheterise which she continued to do during 2015.

Ms K gave birth to her second child in April 2017.  Her use of the catheter increased during pregnancy and following delivery and she continued to experience incomplete voiding post-delivery. 

These issues remain ongoing and have had a serious impact on Ms K’s daily life.

We received instructions from Ms K in late 2019, successfully applied for and obtained assistance from the Legal Services Agency to cover the cost of investigating that case and secured liability evidence from a midwifery expert who concluded that:

  • There was a failure to document when Ms K was first able to void normally following delivery;
  • There was a failure to consider other possible causes of Ms K’s initial reports of pain on urination and reduced stream in the period following delivery, which constituted a breach of duty;
  • There was a failure by the community midwife who attended with our client on 28 May 2015, to acknowledge our client’s increasing abdominal pain and reduced stream, which also constituted a breach of duty.

The expert went on to state that the failure to monitor Ms K’s urinary input and output led to a failure to diagnose and treat urinary retention which Ms K was suffering from on discharge until she was re-admitted on 29 May 2015 by which time she was suffering from a grossly distended bladder.

Pre-action correspondence was sent and High Court proceedings were ultimately issued in 2020.  

During the initial stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, we secured quantum reports from a urologist, psychiatrist, and nursing care expert, all of which allowed us to plead the case in respect of Ms K’s injuries.   

The case was listed for hearing in May 2022 and as we approached the trial date we were invited to enter into negotiations with the Trust with a view to resolving the case.  Negotiations took place between Senior Counsel in May 2022 and following a series of discussions, the case ultimately settled at a sum acceptable to Ms K, which takes account of the life-changing injuries sustained.

Worthingtons Solicitors have a team of Solicitors with extensive experience in handling medical negligence cases involving all aspects of medical care.  If you believe that a hospital or doctor may have been negligent in providing advice or medical treatment to you which has resulted in injury, we will gladly provide advice on all aspects of medical negligence claims in Northern Ireland. Contact Claire McDaid at our Belfast office on (028 9043 4015) or Nikki McConnell at our Newtownards office on (028 9181 1538) for advice and guidance on this process.

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