Hospital admits its staff did not have “requisite experience or competence” to treat patient

R was pregnant when she attended hospital at 17 weeks gestation.  Due to complications, she was advised to terminate the pregnancy.

She was initially offered medical termination of pregnancy which was unsuccessful.  She then underwent 3 different attempts to try and terminate the pregnancy, none of which worked.  Finally, she was taken for surgery during which there was massive bleeding and she required a hysterectomy rendering her infertile.

Our expert was hugely critical of the treatment provided in that:

1.The medication given to bring about medical termination of pregnancy was half the recommended dose so wasn’t going to work.

2. 2 of the other methods used are known to be ineffective and can cause other problems.

3. She should have been transferred to a specialist unit as the staff in question did not have the necessary expertise.

4. The surgeon did not have the requisite experience to perform the procedure required.

Whilst the claim looked strong on breach of duty, our expert thought causation was difficult as a hysterectomy may have been required in any event.  However, he was of the view that, on the balance of probabilities (the legal test to establish causation), this would have been avoided.

Breach of duty was admitted but causation was denied.  However, the Defendant was keen to settle, presumably in light of the catalogue of errors in R’s treatment.  The claim settled, not only for the physical injuries as a result of the deficiencies in treatment, but also the psychological effect this incident had on her.

Kathryn Watson – January 2021