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Medical Negligence

Birth trauma: Are you eligible to make a claim?

By LHD Lawyers

Australia’s medical professionals are among the most skilled in the world, providing their dedication and expertise to those who need it. However, the complexity of treatments and procedures means that things do not always go as planned.

This is especially relevant to childbirth. Unfortunately, it’s all too common for the expectations about one of the most joyous chapters in life to be turned upside down due to the devastating impacts of birth trauma.

If you believe you or your family have been impacted by birth trauma, review the information below to learn more about:

  • Common injuries and symptoms
  • How to assess whether the injuries have been caused due to medical negligence
  • How to take steps towards making a claim for compensation

What is considered birth trauma and who does it impact?

Birth trauma describes wounds, injury or damage sustained by the mother during or after childbirth that can be physical, psychological, or a combination of both. Painful, upsetting and sometimes long-lasting, it’s common for both the mother and the father/partner to feel the ongoing effects of a traumatic birthing experience.

Common birth trauma injuries

Physical injuries can include or be related to:

  • Perineal tears
  • Pelvic floor muscle damage
  • Pelvic organ prolapse (POP)
  • Pelvic fractures (public bone, coccyx, sacrum)
  • Caesarean-section complications
    • Minor stitches resulting in excess scarring
    • Misjudging the size of the child which can delay delivery causing oxygen deprivation or cerebral palsy
    • Excessive bleeding caused by careless incision
  • Poor placenta management
    • Haemorrhaging or infection due to improper removal of the placenta
    • Placenta distress caused by heavy bleeding
  • Umbilical cord complications
    • Carelessness when cutting the umbilical cord resulting in infection
    • Premature detachment leading to deformity of the navel
    • Strangulation or death of the child due to misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis of the position of the umbilical cord

Birth trauma symptoms

Symptoms (both physical and psychological) can include:

  • Ongoing abdominal or back pain
  • Urinary incontinence and other bladder issues
  • Difficulties and pain during intercourse
  • Pain at the site of a tear
  • Pelvic floor laxity or pelvic organ prolapse
  • Fertility issues
  • Postnatal depression and/or anxiety (PNDA) which can include feelings of uncertainty about being a parent or even feelings of guilt for being unhappy
  • Post-partum post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) which can become apparent in the form of intense distress or reminders of the birth trauma that occurred during childbirth
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) such as constantly checking on the baby or distrusting your partner’s ability to help take care of the newborn.

Can birth injuries lead to medical malpractice or medical negligence claims?

Medical malpractice occurs when a medical or health care professional, through a negligent act or omission, deviates from standards in their profession and causes injury to a patient. The negligence might arise from errors in diagnosis, treatment, aftercare or health management.

This means that the relevant actions or inactions of a medical professional that resulted in birth injuries and trauma to a mother, child or both can possibly be grounds for a medical negligence claim. In order for a claim to be successful, it must be demonstrated that:

  • There was a doctor/patient relationship at the time of the injury
  • That the doctor and/or healthcare provider was negligent in their treatment
  • That this negligence resulted in birthing injuries.

What to do if you’ve suffered from birth trauma?

Seek medical treatment

  • If you or your newborn are suffering or are continuing to suffer from birth trauma symptoms, seek guidance from a GP, gynaecologist, fertility specialist, urologist, pelvic health physiotherapist or paediatrician.

Collect the facts

  • Reach out to the hospital to obtain details about what occurred so you can understand the events that preceded and potentially led to your injury. Having this conversation may feel confronting, but the information provided will be extremely useful in understanding whether or not medical negligence occurred, by who and to what degree.

Seek out a support group

  • Birth trauma can be uniquely isolating, so being able to share your journey to recovery with people who have had a similar experience can be extremely beneficial.

How do I make a birth injury trauma compensation claim?

If you and your family been dealing with the impacts of birth trauma, our specialist medical malpractice lawyers are available to assist you in securing the support and benefits you’re entitled to for Birth Trauma claims. We are so sure of our abilities to win your case that we stand firmly by our No Win No Fee Policy: if we don’t win, you don’t pay. Call 1800 455 725 for a no-obligation consultation about your case.

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