H underwent a caesarean section to deliver her first baby. Whilst in hospital afterwards, she felt very unwell, with a raised temperature, feeling hot and cold, shivery and had an increased heart rate. She also suffered from a lot of pain in the caesarean section wound. Her blood test results were abnormal indicating she had an infection but despite this, she was discharged home to look after her new born son.
The following day, she went to see her GP who diagnosed a wound infection and prescribed antibiotics. The day after, she had deteriorated further so she returned to hospital where she was diagnosed with necrotising fasciitis, commonly known as the flesh-eating disease. She required 4 surgeries to remove large amounts of dead tissue which were incredibly painful for her and left her with scarring to her stomach. She was distressed both by her own illness and the separation it caused from her new born baby and she subsequently developed post-traumatic stress disorder.
It was the evidence of our expert that she had clear signs of infection throughout her admission to hospital and these simply were not acted upon. Had she been prescribed antibiotics at any time before her discharge 5 days after the caesarean section, the infection would have resolved and it would not have progressed to necrotising fasciitis.
The hospital denied this and suggested that the disproportionate pain she experienced following the surgery was because she was overweight. We alleged this pain was, amongst other symptoms, a sign of infection. H’s weight was a common theme throughout the claim and reflected disparaging comments about her weight that had been made to H whilst she was in hospital.
As the hospital was of the view their treatment was reasonable, as was the decision to discharge her, we proceeded to issue court proceedings and the claim settled shortly thereafter.
If you suspect you or a member of your family has received negligent treatment and would like some advice as to how best to proceed, please contact us on 01642 231110 and one of our solicitors will be happy to speak to you and advise you on the merits of a clinical negligence claim.
Kathryn Watson – August 2019