Claim settled for brain injured mother following failure to prescribe medication after her caesarean

Case Studies

Claim settled for brain injured mother following failure to prescribe medication after her caesarean

We recently settled a claim against Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust after our client received an insufficient dosage of anticoagulant (anti-clotting) medication shortly after giving birth via caesarean section.

Our client was 28 years old when she gave birth to her second child at Basingstoke and North Hampshire Hospital. Her baby was born safe and well but, as is standard practice following delivery by caesarean section, our client was deemed to be at an increased risk of a type of blood clot known as ‘venous thromboembolism’. In accordance with accepted guidelines, a 10-day course of an anticoagulant medication called Clexane was prescribed.

In hospital, our client was given the first three days of the prescribed medication, and her husband was taught how to administer the anticoagulant injections so he could assist her with the following seven doses upon leaving.

Unfortunately, she was incorrectly told upon her discharge from hospital that she only needed the three injections she had already received and that she did not need any more. She therefore did not receive the prescribed 10-day course of anticoagulant medication.

Within a few days of her discharge from hospital, our client suffered a severe headache, became drowsy and vacant, and her husband noticed that she was not herself. She became unresponsive and an ambulance was called to take her to hospital. A brain scan revealed that she had suffered from a blood clot in her brain known as a ‘cerebral venous sinus thrombosis’, or CVST.

Our client was transferred the next day to the ICU, where she remained in a coma for a week. She stayed in hospital for around three weeks, and then required a long period of rehabilitation. She found the experience terrifying and was very distressed to be separated from her new baby. She suffered severe anxiety and depression.

Following her second discharge from hospital, our client made a good recovery but was left with persisting headaches, fatigue, memory problems, personality changes, difficulty concentrating and recognising people, confusion, and nightmares. She changed her job and now relies on her family for constant support, far more than she did before her injury.

As part of our investigations into the clinical negligence claim, expert evidence was obtained in a number of fields. We alleged that the failure to provide our client with the full 10-day course of Clexane was negligent and that this caused the blood clot that she then suffered. The defendant admitted that our client should have been provided with 10 days of Clexane rather than three. However, the defendant argued that, even if the full 10 days had been provided, our client still would have gone on to suffer the blood clot in her brain in any event.

Court proceedings were issued but, fortunately, a sensible settlement was negotiated thereafter. No amount of money can compensate for the life-changing injury that our client has suffered or the distressing time she and her family went through shortly after her daughter was born. However, the damages recovered will provide her family with some financial security and will allow her to pay for support around the home, and to seek counselling or other mental health support whenever she needs it.

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Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP

Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP is a limited liability partnership registered in England and Wales with registered number OC311575 and is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority under number 419867.

Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP