During the course of our client’s labour a decision was made to carry out a caesarean section and in order to prepare for same our client underwent an attempted spinal anaesthetic. She had not previously encountered any difficulty with the insertion of an epidural or spinal during her two previous labours. Unfortunately during the course of this attempted procedure our client suffered severe pain such that the procedure had to be abandoned and converted to a general anaesthetic. However, following the successful delivery of her child our client was left with a number of neurological symptoms in her perineal area and leg which have persisted to this day.
The Plaintiff instructed Augustus Cullen Law to investigate whether or not there were grounds for alleging negligence on the part of the Anaesthetic Registrar during the course of the attempted spinal block. We instructed an expert Consultant Anaesthetist at the Chelsea & Westminster Hospital in London who examined the standard of care afforded to the Plaintiff during this procedure. Our expert was particularly critical of the Registrar who attempted the procedure, who he believed did not have sufficient expertise or training to carry out the attempted spinal block. The Plaintiff’s expert was also critical of the technical manner in which this was attempted and believes it is highly likely that the Anaesthetic Registrar was mistaken as to the level on the spinal column at which the anesthetic was being attempted. Further, it was alleged that the reason this spinal anesthetic was not successful was due to the Registrar’s inability to understand the level on the spinal column at which they were attempting to pass the needle. It was also alleged that there was a delay in calling for senior assistance to assist the Registrar once the initial first attempt was unsuccessful.
As a result of the failed attempts at the spinal anesthetic the Plaintiff was forced to undergo a general anaesthetic in order that the caesarean section could proceed. The Plaintiff developed a post-partum haemorrhage following the caesarean section which the expert evidence linked to the negligence of Registrar in that the risk of post-partum haemorrhage is greatly increased when a mother has to undergo a general anaesthetic. It was alleged that had a routine epidural been carried out, the Plaintiff would not have been exposed to this risk.
Proceedings were issued against the hospital and a full Defence delivered. The case was set down and specially fixed for trial early in the 2018. A settlement meeting was arranged and a settlement in the sum of €82,500.00 agreed together with the Plaintiff’s legal costs without admission of liability.
For further information please contact Jamie Hart, Partner in our Medical Negligence Department.
24 January 2018