Medics who specialise in gynecology are involved in the treatment and diagnosis of gynecological conditions. Doctors and consultants who practice obstetrics look after patients when they are pregnant, when they are giving birth, and during the post delivery period. Over 50% of claims for medical negligence are due to gynecological and obstetrics issues. This is because of a notable number of wrongful births which can result in conditions such as: shoulder dystocia, Erbs palsy and cerebral palsy.
If you have suffered any form of medical negligence from gynecological or obstetrics care or treatment, then please contact our gynaecology medical negligence solicitors for free advice on a potential claim for compensation.
Common gynecological and obstetrics claims purseued by gynaecology medical negligence solicitorsinclude: -
Our gynaecology negligence solicitors offer a no win no fee, risk-free scheme for anyone with a valid clinical compensation claim. Please give our helpline a call to speak to one of our specialist lawyers who will be able to look at your proposed claim and give you advice without charge or obligation.
In order to pursue a successful medical negligence claim, it is essential to be able to prove that the medic/s who were treating you were not as capable as other similar doctors, consultants or other medical staff operating in the same area of medicine. It is important to consider that if the treatment you received was not successful, then it is not automatically down to the negligence of the medic/s who administered it, as it could be due to many other complex factors.
Moreover, if the medic had a option of using more than one treatment, and decided on employing one that was not suitable, then as long as the alternative option stands up to logical reasoning, and is supported by a significant percentage of the medical profession, it cannot automatically be classed as negligence.
As soon as a case of negligence has been ascertained, it is mandatory to be able to provide proof that the treatment which was negligently administered: -
Unfortunately, in the majority of cases, these matters are hard to prove, and are dependent on medical consultants giving expert evidence.
Compensation for gynecological and obstetrics medical negligence covers both physical and emotional suffering and pain, as well as any losses and expenses.
Wrongful birth claims can include incidental expenses and losses which are connected the upbringing of the child. Should the child have any associated disabilities, then further financial awards are made to allow for the additional expenses involved.
Due to the fact that there are time constraints on making a claim for negligent gynecological or obstetrics care or treatment, if you feel that you have a case, then please contact our gynaecology negligence solicitors without delay to discuss your potential claim.
A medical negligence compensation claim solicitor deals with applications for damages against healthcare professionals for personal injury and loss caused by negligent gynaecology practitioners. It is to your advantage, in order to preserve your legal right to compensation, to make contact with a medical negligence solicitor as soon as possible after the event that caused the gynaecological injury.
Women can be treated for gynaecological problems because of many different conditions. Some are related to pregnancy and others to things like uterine fibroids, uterine bleeding, cancer of the uterus or cancer of the ovaries or cervix.
Some gynaecological errors are directly due to misdiagnosis or lack of diagnosis of a gynaecological problem. For example, a doctor can do a test for cervical or uterine cancer and can miss a correct diagnosis of cancer of these two organs. Missed diagnosis of cancer can lead to early cancer deaths, pain and suffering and unnecessary surgery. Early cancers of the uterus and/or cervix often don’t need major surgery, while a missed advanced surgery of these areas needs extensive surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy.
Doctors who do surgery on the uterus due to uterine fibroids or other uterine problems like endometriosis can damage the fallopian tubes or ovaries, especially if the surgery is laparoscopic. The fallopian tube can be nicked and the ovary can be cut, leading to bleeding and scarring—both conditions that will change the way these organs work. If the fallopian tube is considered damaged, it may not allow an egg to pass and it can damage a woman’s fertility. Loss of an ovary can damage a woman’s fertility as well.
The gynaecologist can fail to diagnose and manage properly a woman’s endometriosis, which is a condition in which part of the uterine lining grows outside the bounds of the uterus and sheds blood painfully every time a woman has her period. This is a very painful condition that can be written off as being hysteria or some other menstrual cause of pain and the woman can go a long time without proper treatment and management. Treatment involves removing the endometrial tissue through a laparoscope. This can be done too aggressively, resulting in a perforation of the bladder, intestinal wall, fallopian tube or uterus.
Women needing help in artificial insemination can have problems with gynecological errors. The doctor can perforate the uterus during intrauterine insemination. The doctor can fail in attempts at in vitro fertilization and can fail to produce viable embryos for the woman who has often paid fortunes for vitro fertilisation. The doctor would just be wasting the woman’s money if he or she couldn’t successfully grow the embryos and implant them in the uterus. No procedure is perfect but, clearly some clinics have a better success rate than others.
The gynaecologist can make the mistake of misdiagnosing a uterine polyp and can call it a fibroid rather than a uterine cancer. This can result in the cancer advancing and the “polyp” growing. By the time the cancer is diagnosed, it could be in its later stages so that the treatment needs to be more aggressive and patient death can result.
The gynaecologist can fail to diagnose a woman’s fertility problem. Fertility problems can be due to pituitary problems, including pituitary tumors, other hormonal problems, ovarian failure, fallopian tube blockage or other systemic disease. If not properly diagnosed or treated, the woman can have problems getting pregnant or may be treated with harmful hormonal therapies that don’t work because the treatment is directed at the wrong problem.
Menstrual disorders can be misdiagnosed and poorly treated. If, for example, the woman was having anovulatory cycles and heavy periods, the doctor may not recognize the issue as being anovulatory and may only treat the patient with iron pills. If the patient wants to become pregnant, she will not be properly treated because she needs medications to treat her anovulation before treating anything else.
Doctors can make serious mistakes when doing obstetrical procedures from conception to delivery. Doctors can make mistakes, for example, when doing assisted reproduction. Patients tend to pay a great deal of money for things like IVF or in vitro fertilization. Doctors have different rates of success for in vitro fertilization and can actually have much lower rates of in vitro fertilization than their cohorts. This is due to sloppy laboratory techniques involving creating an embryo or sloppy techniques of insertion of the embryos into the uterus.
Obstetricians can make mistakes in early pregnancy, such as when doing a chorionic villus sampling or an amniocentesis. These are procedures that are intended to give the obstetrician information about the genetics of the baby. If the doctor doesn’t practice sterile technique, an infection can ensue that can endanger the life of the fetus. The doctor can also make a mistake and can cause separation of the placenta and resultant miscarriage. The doctor may also directly injure the fetus in the process of doing one of these two procedures. It takes a skilled doctor to perform either of these two procedures.
A doctor seeing a pregnant woman can make laboratory mistakes. For example, the doctor can fail to recognize the patient’s Rh negativity status. This can lead to Rh sensitivity and fetal distress or fetal death. Infections of the uterus can be missed as can infections of the cervix that ultimately travel into the uterus and can infect the fetus. One such infection is a beta strep infection that causes sepsis in neonates. If not checked for or detected during the pregnancy, antibiotics will not be given and the patient’s infant can suffer extreme infections.
The doctor can fail to detect intrauterine growth retardation or low fluid volume of the amniotic fluid. This is usually a sign that the placenta is failing. The number of fetal movements falls and the fetus can suffer intrauterine death from lack of oxygenation to the fetus. It is therefore important for the doctor to detect when the growth of the fetus is suboptimal and to order the secondary tests, such as a biophysical profile on ultrasound and a nonstress test, which can tell how safe the uterine environment is for the fetus. If it turns out not to be safe, the baby is delivered, either vaginally or by cesarean section.
Mistakes can be made during the delivery of the infant. The doctor can mistakenly go ahead with a vaginal delivery when the baby is, in fact, breech, something few doctors can or should deliver vaginally. The infant can also be too big and the doctor will allow the patient to labor unnecessarily, only to have to deliver the infant by cesarean section, perhaps after an episode of fetal distress.
The doctor can use forceps or vacuum extraction, resulting in injury to the fetus. It takes a skilled doctor to do forceps deliveries and making a mistake can result in facial nerve palsies and problems with actual trauma to the fetus’ ears, skull or face. Forceps deliveries can seriously harm the mother’s cervix or bladder. Forceps-induced bladder injuries can result in chronic urinary leakage or rupture of the bladder.
The forceps can injure the vagina or can result in a fourth degree vaginal tear, which is a tear into the rectum. The repair is very difficult and results in poor rectal tone, rectal leakage and severe rectal pain. The vacuum extractor tends to cause less maternal injury but can cause a severe cephalhematoma in the infant, which often leads to problems with infant hyperbilirubinemia or jaundice.
In the case of personal injury, the primary time limit is three years. However, this period is not initiated until the date the claimant is conversant with the defendant's identity, and the claimant understands that the injury they have sustained is both due to negligence and is significant. In the case of minors, the mandatory time limit of three years does not start until the claimant has reached their 18th birthday. When a claimant has a mental disability, the period of three years does not begin until their have regained total mental capacity. In instances when lost mental capacity goes on for extended periods, compensation claims may be processed for a significant amount of time after this limit has expired. In serious cases of permanent mental disability, another person can make a claim for compensation on the claimant’s behalf, without any time limit.
What is Gynaecology?
Gynaecology is a specialty of medicine which deals with the reproductive system of females. When considering the health of female reproductive system, it involves the genitals and vagina, ovaries and uterus and breasts.
Gynaecologists are specialists who deal with women’s health, specially focusing on the female reproductive system. Usually Gynaecology and Obstetrics go hand in hand. Obstetrician is a doctor who specializes in pregnancy, labour, child birth, post-partum care and of course the female reproductive system. Gynaecology is combined with Obstetrics as a medical specialty which comes under the discipline called Obstetrics and Gynaecology field.
As the female body experiences different biological functions such as puberty, menstruation, child birth and menopause, this specialty includes caring for each and every health issue related to female reproductive system. Most women prefer to go to a well woman clinic for their health issues. However it is advised to women to visit a gynaecologist at least annually for a checkup and whenever they have symptoms related to their reproductive system, which concern them.
When should a female visit a Gynaecologist?
• It is recommended for every female to get an annual checkup.
• When there are symptoms which worry you such as;
1. Pain in pelvis, vagina or vulva
2. Abnormal vaginal or uterine bleeding, Inter menstrual bleeding, post- menopausal bleeding or bleeding during and after intercourse etc.
3. Dysmennorrhoea – Pain during, before or after a menstrual period
4. Dyspareunia – Pain during intercourse
5. Fertility issues, subfertility, issues with family planning, sterilization etc.
6. Urine stress incontinence (passing of urine each time you laugh, cough or sneeze) or uterine or vaginal prolapse due to loosening of ligaments and muscles surrounding the pelvic organs and vulva.
7. When there are symptoms of sexually transmitted diseases such as vaginal discharge, ulcers or rashes in genital region
8. Features of Poly Cystic Ovarian Disease /Syndrome (PCOD/ PCOS) such as virilization, subfertility, diabetes mellitus
9. Benign conditions involving the female reproductive tract like uterine fibroids, ovarian cysts or breast disorders
10. Pre malignant lesions such as cervical dysplasia (a pre-cancerous condition where abnormal cell growth occurs on the surface lining of the cervix) or endometrial hyperplasia (The endometrium or the lining of the uterus becomes abnormally thick and later can turn malignant in some women)
11. Cancers of reproductive tract involving the uterus, ovaries, genitals or breasts
12. Symptoms following menopause such as hot flushes, vaginal dryness etc.
13. Congenital anomalies of female reproductive tract such as duplication or absence of uterus or ovaries, ambiguous genitalia
14. Sexual dysfunctions, health issues related to sexuality
15. Pelvic inflammatory Disease (PID), abscesses in the pelvis – these may present with severe pain
16. Gynaecological emergencies –
• Miscarriages – Loss of a baby before 20 weeks of pregnancy
• Ectopic pregnancy – (embryo attaching itself in to other places other than the uterus such as tubes, ovaries)
What are the surgical procedures or interventions involved in Gynaecology?
There are several surgical procedures and various interventions performed in Gynaecology as it is a surgical field. They should be ideally performed by a trained gynaecologist.
• Gynaecological examination – following the general examination of a female, the gynaecologist proceeds to perform a detailed pelvic examination including vulval and vaginal examination
• Screening, evaluation, diagnosis, treatment and giving necessary advice
• Pap smear test – this is a screening procedure to identify early cervical cancer
• Ultra Sound scanning of pelvis and abdomen to identify any abnormalities in pelvic organs, detecting lumps, cysts, pregnancy etc.
• Colposcopy – Microscopical examination of the vagina and cervix
• Hysteroscopy – Uterus is visualized through an endoscope
• Endometrial biopsy – a sample is taken from the uterine lining or the endometrium to detect any abnormalities
Above are the common interventions used by the Gynaecologists for diagnostic purposes of various conditions in the female reproductive tract. The following procedures are used to perform various interventions to treat those conditions.
• Laparoscopic examination and surgery – Through small cuts made in abdomen, a laparoscope is introduced in to the abdomen to visualize abdominal and pelvic organs. Laparoscopy can be used as a surgical intervention where small tumours, cysts can be removed, for sterilizing females etc.
• Minor surgeries like sterilization (LRT – Ligation and resection of tubes), D and C (Dilatation and Curettage) where scraping and scooping of the uterine lining is done as a therapeutic measure or as a diagnostic procedure
• Major surgeries such as removal of fibroids, ovarian tumours
• Procedures to treat subfertility Ex: IUI (Intra uterine insemination)
What is Medical Negligence?
Medical negligence also known as medical malpractice is a legal cause of action that occurs when a health care professional deviates from standards from his/ her profession, causing harm or injury to the patient.
What are the possibilities of medical negligence which can occur in relation to Gynaecology?
• Issues with misdiagnosis – A gynaecological condition can be completely missed or may end up getting undiagnosed. Sometimes the diagnosis which is made may be incorrect. This may be life threatening because misdiagnosis or missing a condition may provide improper treatment or fail to treat the condition.
Ex: Missing the diagnosis of an ovarian cancer can lead to spread and ultimate death
• When mistakes are made before, during and after surgical operations
• Performing wrong operation
Ex: Doing hysterectomy (removal of uterus) instead of Myomectomy (removal of fibroid) when there is only a small fibroid
• Operating a wrong body part
Ex: When there is an ovarian tumour in left ovary, the right ovary is removed by mistake
• Leaving foreign objects or surgical instruments inside the body following gynaecological surgeries
Ex: pieces of gauze, forceps may be left inside the body by mistake which can lead to severe infection
• Perforating organs
Ex: When a fibroid is removed by myomectomy, accidentally uterus can be perforated
• Infections following gynaecological procedures when proper sterilizing and disinfection procedures are not followed
• A gynaecologist can cause medical megligence by writing wrong prescriptions with either incorrect medicine, wrong dose, duration and prescribing medicines which are known to cause allergies to that female
• When the gynaecologist doesn’t provide you with adequate advice before a procedure about the risks involved with the procedure and other available alternatives.
• Sometimes scarring and disfigurements can occur following gynaecological surgeries if not performed carefully especially in females prone to keloids.
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