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New mum awarded $900,000 following a negligent birthing forceps injury.

As first-time mum Leanne entered labour, she was nervous and excited to meet her baby and start a new future together with her family.

Little did Leanne know that medical negligence experienced during her baby’s delivery would cause her a traumatic health condition, resulting in a compensation pay out of more than $900,000.

New mum awarded $900,000 following a negligent birthing forceps injury.

The day of delivery arrives.

Leanne’s ordeal began during labour in hospital when her baby’s heart rate dropped to a dangerous level, causing an emergency where her baby, weighing four kilos, had to be delivered as fast as possible.

There are three options available at this point. An emergency C-section, or a vaginal delivery using either a vacuum or forceps to speed up delivery. The obstetrician on duty decided to use forceps but didn’t inform Leanne of the other options available.

Her baby was successfully delivered, however the procedure resulted in a grade 3b perineal tear, causing Leanne a devastating and ongoing condition of faecal and urine incontinence.

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Dealing with life after a birthing injury.

As the weeks and months passed, Leanne realised her acute condition wasn’t getting any better, it was in fact getting worse. Hiding her incontinence from family and friends was causing Leanne immense stress, and she was terrified of being caught out in public, fearful an accident could happen at any moment if a bathroom was not close by.

Her relationship with her husband was also starting to fray, which would lead to a separation. All these factors combined to create a debilitating case of depression as Leanne felt increasingly isolated.

Feeling the hospital may have been negligent during her son’s delivery, Leanne turned to Law Partners for help.

Forging a personal relationship to maximise compensation.

We listened to Leanne’s story, asked more questions, offered free advice, and agreed to take on her case, at no upfront cost to Leanne.

We got to know Leanne personally to better understand the full extent of her injuries, and the devastating impact they’ve had on her lifestyle, profession, family, and relationships.

Proving negligence and winning compensation for Leanne.

Law Partners was successful in settling Leanne’s matter with the local health district outside of court. To win the case, we alleged the obstetrician on duty had used forceps with excessive force, based on the extent of her injury. Our own medical expert obstetrician supported this view.

We also argued that the hospital failed to advise Leanne of her delivery options and failed to warn her about the risk of using forceps. Finally, Leanne’s tear was repaired in the delivery suite, but we alleged she should have been moved to the operating theatre for such a serious condition. As it was, her stitches were not applied correctly, which meant her tear was not able to heal in an expected time period. This worsened her outcome, prolonging Leanne’s condition of faecal and urine incontinence.

Leanne was awarded $900,000 in medical negligence compensation, made up of payments to address past and future medical treatment expenses, economic loss, pain and suffering including psychological impacts, plus psychiatric therapy and medications.

Leanne was kind enough to pass on her appreciation to her Law Partners legal team:

“I want you to know how much of an impact you make to people’s lives. Although I may still have to live with my injury, life is much easier now.

“Thank you for all the work and effort you have gone to for me. Elizabeth Utting and the team have really been there for me and changed mine and my children’s lives for the better. I will forever be grateful to Law Partners.” 

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