Lily's claim for epidural complication settled successfully
Medical Negligence

Lily’s claim for epidural complication settled successfully

3 minute read

Lily’s first experience of childbirth was marred by a severe complication following an epidural procedure at a large maternity hospital. She was admitted for the delivery with an epidural for pain management. Despite the procedure initially appearing to be complication-free, an unexpected reaction led to a total spinal block, a rare but serious complication.

Serious complications required emergency action

After the epidural was administered, Lily was initially stable, but the situation quickly deteriorated. She began feeling extremely weak, losing sensation in her limbs, which escalated to an inability to move her arms, legs or even her head. The medical team noted her blood pressure dropping significantly, a critical sign of the spreading epidural block.

In this critical state, Lily lost consciousness, prompting an immediate response from the attending medical team. Oxygen was administered and emergency measures were taken to stabilise her condition. The rapid onset of these symptoms, culminating in her loss of consciousness, underscored the severity of the total spinal block.

This adverse event necessitated an emergency caesarean section under general anaesthesia, from which Lily and her newborn thankfully recovered.

The new mother had no memory of what happened to her

Lily was never given any explanation as to what occurred on the day in question, and she had no recollection of the events. She eventually sought her medical records and was invited to the Birth Reflections Clinic where she met with the Consultant Anaesthetist who had attended her following her collapse.

There was a full debrief of the records and it was noted that our client remained traumatised about the lack of communication from the hospital at the time of epidural and the subsequent events.

Lily contacted Augustus Cullen Law

The lack of immediate explanation and the subsequent impact on Lily’s health prompted her to seek legal advice from Augustus Cullen Law. She had the benefit of an initial consultation with Jamie Hart.

Our investigation, supported by expert opinion, identified a likely unrecognised dural puncture during the epidural procedure. Although the failure to recognise this puncture was not in itself deemed negligent, the administration of the anaesthetic without proper consideration of the test dose’s effects was identified as a failure in the duty of care.

Legal proceedings and outcome

The case was challenged on several fronts, including allegations of negligence and the applicability of the statute of limitations.

To learn about the clinical negligence limitation period, read: How long do I have to make a medical negligence claim in Ireland?

Despite the robust challenge to the claim, through diligent legal strategy and negotiation, a settlement was reached. This settlement, representing 80% of the case’s value plus full legal costs, acknowledged the oversight and its impact on Lily’s life.

We are expert clinical negligence solicitors with significant experience in matters relating to childbirth

We are committed to providing expert legal support for those affected by medical negligence. If you or a loved one has experienced a similar situation, we encourage you to Contact Us for guidance and support or, visit Medical Negligence Claims to learn more about our services.

In contentious business, a solicitor may not calculate fees or other charges as a percentage or proportion of any award or settlement.

The name referenced throughout this case study is a pseudonym that has been put in place to protect the client’s privacy.


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