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Injury during caesarean section results in five-figure medical negligence settlement

AuthorsBecky Addison

A newborn baby holds their parent's hand

Our medical negligence and serious personal injury team helped a mother who gave birth via caesarean section to receive a five-figure compensation sum following a severe burn she sustained during the procedure.

Here, our Paralegal Becky Addison details what went wrong and how we went about securing compensation.


Planned caesarean section

On 24 April 2023, our client attended Frimley Maternity Unit for a planned caesarean section and left partial salpingectomy.

When any patient goes for a procedure, a consent form is signed — and our client signed a consent form for a planned caesarean section and sterilisation. 

The only risks noted were infection, bleeding, deep vein thrombosis (DVT), damage to bladder, cut to baby’s skin, breathing difficulties and retained placenta.

Following the procedure, our client’s medical records noted that the “only issue” was a “sore to buttock, possibly from patient trying to move when on spinal board. Clinical image has been reviewed by tissue viability nurses and ointment prescribed.”

After reviewing the consent form, we could clearly see that our client didn’t consent to sustaining a burn on her buttock while being in theatre — or being left with a scar. The Trust owed her (and breached) a duty of care — causing her to suffer avoidable harm. 


Reviewing the injury

The following morning, our client went for a shower and noticed that she was bleeding. Her skin was also peeling around her buttock. She immediately sought a nurse’s attention. Her medical records evidence that the surgeon and coordinator assigned to her care were aware that she needed to be reviewed. However, this didn’t happen.

Later that day, our client was reviewed by a clinician who noted that she had a 3cm skin ulcer which looked like an abrasion. The clinician thought that this was likely a result of moisture and pressure.

Our client was then reviewed by tissue viability, who thought that the injury looked more like a burn than an abrasion. The team prescribed her with flaminal hydro and mepilex border creams and suggested that she be referred back to the surgeons, as this may have happened while she was in theatre. This referral also didn’t happen.

Following discharge, our client was seen by her midwife, who noted: “pressure sore seen on buttocks. Continuing to apply cream. Advised to air if possible, to aid healing process.”

On 11 May 2023, our client was again seen by her midwife, who this time noted: “pressure sore at base of spine healing well. Scabbed over and evidence of granulation tissue.”


Obtaining medical records

We subsequently obtained our client’s medical records, including an Accident Injury Event Document. 

This documentation was very brief and stated: 

“Day 1 post EMCS at 15:02. Had not mobilised all night. Came onto shift at 07:30, assisted out of bed immediately to shower. Patient noticed sore on left buttock. Noticed around 4cm of broken/peeled skin and some bruising. Obstetrician thinks it is abrasion from sitting in damp pads. Tissue viability think it could be a possible burn from the pictures on epic. Treatment given.”

After reviewing photography of the burn, it was clear that the injury looked like an instrument burn — likely from a diathermy pad.


Bringing in the experts

We proceeded to seek informal expert opinion from an obstetrician and gynaecologist, who thought that the injury looked like a diathermy injury and that — on the balance of probabilities — the buttock was in contact with a metal part of the operating table, which caused the burn. 

Following this opinion, we wrote an early letter of notification to Frimley Health NHS Foundation Trust. 

Our allegations included that there was a failure to:

  1. ensure (by the theatre staff) that our client’s skin was protected against apparatus or substance that could cause serious burns to the skin
  2. note and investigate our client’s burn in theatre
  3. exercise statutory duty of candour.

After sustaining the burn to her buttock, our client experienced pain, struggled to use the toilet, struggled to breastfeed her baby and relied on the help of her husband and other family members. She has also been left with long-term scarring.


£13,000 settlement

In March 2024, we received the Trust’s Letter of Response. This admitted that there had been a failure to ensure our client’s skin was protected and that the burn wasn’t recognised immediately. The Trust further admitted that our client sustained an injury and had suffered pain and discomfort as a result. 

With regards to the ongoing scarring, we were asked to provide further evidence. We therefore sent up to date photography of our client’s scarring and a proposed treatment plan, which she had obtained via private consultation. 

The Trust put forward an offer of £13,000 to settle the case, which our client happily accepted.

Need advice?

It can be daunting to approach a solicitor when something has gone wrong with your medical treatment or you’ve been seriously injured through no fault of your own.

If you need help and advice from our team, we’ll sensitively and thoroughly analyse your case to determine its strength and support you through every step of the legal process.

Talk to us by completing our contact form below.

Find out more about our medical negligence and serious personal injury team.

I couldn't be more impressed with the service I received from Becky Addison. She took the time to thoroughly understand my situation, patiently listening to all my concerns and questions and providing clear, insightful explanations every step of the way. Her communication skills were outstanding, ensuring that I was always kept informed of developments and promptly responding to any questions I had. Thanks to Becky's expertise and unwavering support, we were able to achieve a favourable outcome in my case, exceeding my expectations. I'm immensely grateful for her guidance and representation and I wholeheartedly recommend Becky and Brabners to anyone in need of legal assistance.

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Becky Addison

Becky is a Paralegal in our litigation team.

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