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To sue the NHS over my birthing experience

(462 Posts)
boomitscountginula Fri 03-Nov-17 22:56:08

Now before I get flamed to death. I do appreciate my birth story isn't as bad as some but, I now refuse to have another baby unless I can get assurances that this won't happen again, and the only way I can do so is to go private, I think.? It was traumatic to me.

I had a quite easy birth, in terms of how long it took "officially" but I wasn't listened to and have a couple of long lasting injuries I think could of been prevented if they believed I was in labour to begin with.

My birth story: I woke up the day after my due day and had lost my plug over night. Went for a stretch and sweep at lunch, (planned as it was my first) with my midwife said I was 3cm already.

Fabulous, no pain at the minute, now 3cm easy birth.. so I thought.

Went home had a nap, woke up with contractions near tea time. By 9pm they where regularly 6 minutes apart so rang the maternity ward, had a phone assessment and went in.

Got into maternity triage, in absolute agony, had a physical exam and the triage said:

"Your only 3 cm, you need to come home and come back."

I said well as you can see, I am contacting every 6 minutes and less now, the pain is overwhelming and I feel like I need to push.

She tutted and said in all her experience she had never been wrong and I had hours to go, so needed to go home.

I was in bits at this news and crumbled. I never wanted an epidural and chose pethidine (sic) and gas and air. So agreed I would go home but I needed some kind of pain killer, that I could have with my chosen birth plan. I really put my foot down and said I will go home but only if I can get a pain killer stronger that the 2 paracetamol I had taken already.

She said she would find a doctor, but never came back.

Meanwhile I then go into the advanced stages of Labour. Bare in mind I had two paracetamol and my waters haven't broken. It's like trying to birth a gym ball.

I am literally screaming in pain in a side room in maternity triage, pushing and effectively giving birth myself. My partner and my mum (both birth partners) took it in turns to find anyone. But no one came for 45 minutes.

After 45 minutes a junior midwife came in and said "oh my god your in labour".

Me and her literally ran to the deliver ward, where I was given gas and air.

I took a massive gulp of it, and was told off, because I should only take it when I am in pain and contracting..... never mind the two hours I have just been in hospital alone labouring, without a monitor on my baby or any pain relief.

I am still not hooked up to monitor, the only medical intervention is gas and air right now. My waters still haven't broken, 4 minutes later I was given the pethidine. 2 minutes after that I crown, baby in sack. Midwife broke the waters and my son was born. My official record shows that I was in labour for 9 minutes.

I had pain relief 4 minutes into my 9 minute birth and at no point was I on any kind of contraction monitoring machine. Nothing monitoring baby's heartbeat etc etc. I might as well have birthed in the woods.

I also split my right labia in two during the birth. The midwife didn't want to stitch it because it wasn't that bad.. yet I couldn't pee, unless in the bath for 3 weeks, and now that side is an inch longer than the other. Causing me, well you can imagine.

Start to finish I was treated like dirt, I was left labouring in a room alone, I was belittled and injured without proper treatment. And now I am afraid to be pregnant again.

I love the NHS, but they have let me down, massively. I am permanently injured (labia) and mentally scarred. But hate the idea of sueing the NHS on a theoretical level...

sadiemm2 Fri 03-Nov-17 23:01:59

I had a similar experience, a super quick labour with little monitoring and no pain relief. I was very angry, but didn't sue, as the labour ward was utterly swamped, and I was nearly sent to a next county (son would have been born enough route if so....). Unexpected delivery means I had a huge tear required stitching under anaesthetic. Later discovered I had hypermobility syndrome, so this is the reason for all. Myself swift labours and miscarriages. I didn't sue, but did write a letter expressing my disappointment in. My care. I. Would do that. I don't agree with suing, but many do, I suppose. I hope you are OK... I

LouHotel Fri 03-Nov-17 23:03:09

Firstly congratations on your baby.

YANBU to request (demand) answers and have you had your 6 week check up?

2018babyonboard Fri 03-Nov-17 23:03:25

YABU I wouldn’t sue the NHS over that. I had a different experience in childbirth and was seen by a trauma consultant on the ward who basically asked me not to sue them.

You have your child, how they got there isn’t important. Are you still pyscially in pain or scarred etc? If so have you thought about seeing if there’s anything they can do to fix it?

Sorry you aren’t happy with your experience though, I know how shit it is, maybe speak to a gp also? I had PTSD post childbirth you may also have it and they may be able to help.

ThisllOutMe Fri 03-Nov-17 23:03:51

Sorry you had such a traumatic experience.

From a legal point of view, it will be helpful if you have in your mind what sort of remedy you actually want, in other words what do you think you should be suing for?

Mumteadumpty Fri 03-Nov-17 23:04:24

Have you made an official complaint?

DaisyRaine90 Fri 03-Nov-17 23:05:30

I am they nearly killed me. Your not in the wrong. Nearly killed me with DC1 but wasn’t in the position to do anything about it, with DC2 I need to do so otherwise nothing will improve for anyone else x

Quartz2208 Fri 03-Nov-17 23:05:57

Yanbu to want answers and someone to be held accountable

But legally no you can't sue

PurplePillowCase Fri 03-Nov-17 23:07:34

the more people who have been neglected in nhs hospitals complain about their treatment the better

NamasteNiki Fri 03-Nov-17 23:08:32

Sue for what though?

You dont get damages for a bad experience. You can only succeed in a clinical negligence claim if the medical staff make a mistake and that you are injured as a direct result of that mistake.

They didnt spot you were in labour. Ok. But.
Causation is a real problem as tearing in childbirth is par for course and normal in many births.

If they had spotted you were in labour and you weren't left alone and you still tore what could you sue for?

Im sorry but I dont see a claim. I would make a complaint though.

Aureservoir Fri 03-Nov-17 23:09:17

I think you should probably be glad you have a healthy baby, and move on. DS 1's birth went monstrously wrong. I asked for the notes following his birth (just so I could get my head round it, for my own sanity), but the notes had "gone missing". I could have pursued it, and sometimes still wish I could read the notes to fill in the bits where I lost consciousness and nearly died - but still, I have my darling boy (now a young adult), and that is really all that matters.

chocolateorangeowls Fri 03-Nov-17 23:09:45

“the more people who have been neglected in nhs hospitals complain about their treatment the better”

Complain yes, sue no - just means less money to stop things like this happening

underneaththeash Fri 03-Nov-17 23:10:14

i think you should complain, if no-one complains then things don't get any better. We ran a mile from the NHS when I was about 18 weeks with dc1 when they'd lost my notes and blood tests, a scan and then failed to plug in a foetal monitor. We just paid. However lots of people complained about the maternity unit in the preceding years and it is now so much better than it was before.

If you do sue you have to prove that you have suffered some loss, take legal advice, it's not enough to just have had bad care, it's significant.y more complex.

Fffion Fri 03-Nov-17 23:10:14

On what grounds would you sue? Do you have a loss of income?
Are you American, OP?

NancyDonahue Fri 03-Nov-17 23:10:21

I had a similar experience with one of mine. I was just glad for a healthy baby and tried to forget it. I didn't have stitches despite tearing but it healed ok. It took about 6 weeks I think. Down below is never quite the same as before and after three lovely babies.. it's not pretty sad

Nonameyet1 Fri 03-Nov-17 23:11:05

Ok so you sue and take precious funds that the NHS doesn't have. You've had a crap time, write a letter of complaint. But also think why no one came, they are so short staffed it ridiculous... not your problem directly but really it becomes everyone's problems if we want to keep using our NHS.

AnnabellaH Fri 03-Nov-17 23:11:14

Welcome to the UK birth experience ... what else do you want people to say? If we all sued them for shitty care in labour the NHS wouldn't exist.

Next time get a private Midwife. I used One 2 One and although I still had a traumatic birth I can't fault their care. My birth was traumatic because the fucking NHS maternity ward sent me home for 'not being in enough pain' when I was 6hrs in to full labour and having a gallstone attack... with undiagnosed PE and in liver failure.
I gave birth at home and nearly died.

I, however AM suing them.

Liverpool Women's at it's fucking finest. Thank fuck the shithole is closing.

Grilledaubergines Fri 03-Nov-17 23:11:56

What is the end result you want by suing them? As in, what are you hoping to achieve?

2018babyonboard Fri 03-Nov-17 23:12:00

Sueing doesn’t fix what happened to you, it doesn’t prevent it happening again, it takes money out of an underfunded NHS pocket into your own. People continue to sue yet wonder why the NHS makes these mistakes, most of the time it’s becuase it has no money To run an efficient service. What makes a difference is complaining, writing to Pals, the NMC if you want to complain about a specific Midwife, the head of the hospital. Demanding answers, demanding that the people you are complaining about are spoken to and asking what is being put in place to ensure it doesn’t happen again.

boomitscountginula Fri 03-Nov-17 23:12:44

This was 4 years ago. Me and my partner have discussed having another child recently and I just don't want to go through the whole thing again.

I would love another child, but the thought of giving birth now petrified me.

No one believed I was in labour. I was panting and pushing when the midwife said I needed to go home.

I am so frightening at not being believed again. As the first time round I was scared in a tremendous amount of pain and the people I should of been able to trust brushed me off.

They wasn't short of beds in delivery. Because after I gave both they let me sleep in the delivery room, rather than go straight to a ward. Quote "we are having a quiet night, so stay down here"

I have quite an obvious cosmetic injury, but it also hurts as it gets sore etc.

I want to say well that's just the NHS, it's underfunded etc. But I have been diagnosed with PnD etc and I think all of this could of been avoided.

BatteredBreadedOrSouthernFried Fri 03-Nov-17 23:13:41

Sorry you had a bad time of it. (Although it really wasn’t awful!)

I now refuse to have another baby unless I can get assurances that this won't happen again, and the only way I can do so is to go private

I’ll be honest I find this ridiculous! You sue when you are out money because of your experience. You don’t sue to fund the future birth of a child you choose to have. The NHS is absolutely on the bones of its arse. If you can’t see your way to having an NHS birth then you must fund the private care yourself.

Viviennemary Fri 03-Nov-17 23:14:05

It certainly wasn't ideal and you are right to be annoyed. But I don't think you have grounds to sue. Make a complaint and see what they say. And tears are frequent in childbirth and this controversy to whether a natural tear or intervention by cutting is best. Has that been solved yet.

CherryChasingDotMuncher Fri 03-Nov-17 23:14:58

You have your child, how they got there isn’t important

I absolutely detest this attitude. Pregnant women are not just vessels, their feelings matter, their experiences matter and their births matter. Giving birth is one of the** most scary and risky experiences a woman will go through, of course it’s bloody important how it happens. angry

OP, have you lodged an official complaint? Just so you know it’s very rare to send a woman away with anything stronger than two paracetamol and not all women are strapped to a monitor unless high risk.

You were treated appallingly. You deserve answers. I’ll be honest, I think suing is jumping the gun and I’m not sure you have an especially strong case, but maternity wards need to get better at taking care of women and listening to women, and you should start by talking to them first and foremost. Does your Trust have a postnatal listening service at all? These are great services that allow you to lodge complaints whilst getting specialist advice.

Fffion Fri 03-Nov-17 23:15:08

So book yourself in for a c-section

EB123 Fri 03-Nov-17 23:15:43

I would complain and ask for a meeting to discuss your experience. I don't think you would get anywhere attempting to sue and I don't think you should. If your labia injury is causing issues I would discuss that with your doctor.

Having had two very traumatic births, I know all too well that to many women it actually does matter how baby arrives. So many people said it to me. Of course we are lucky to have happy healthy babies but it doesn't take away from a traumatic experience and I wish people would realise that.

I was very scared when I was pregnant with ds2 after having a crash see iron with ds1, but it turns out he was my one non traumatic birth.

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