Clinical Negligence

Retained swab following episiotomy

This medical negligence case arose of the care provided to Mrs L following the birth of her son.

In July 2019, Mrs L was admitted to Medway Hospital for the birth of her son. Following a long labour, an episiotomy was performed and Mrs L gave birth.

The perineum was inspected and it was noted that Mrs L had sustained a deep tear. The plan was for an examination under anaesthetic and repair of perineal tear. Prior to the examination under anaesthetic, it was documented that a swab remained in situ placed by the registrar to put pressure on the tear.

The perineal repair took place and the swab count was 15 pre and post-repair.

Mrs L was given antibiotics and discharged the next day.

Over the next few days, Mrs L started to feel uncomfortable, as though something was dropping inside of her. She thought that she might have had a prolapse. She contacted the local Midwife’s Office to express her concerns. She was advised to continue pelvic floor exercises and contact her GP if she was concerned.

Mrs L was very concerned and checked her perineum herself. She could see a foreign body. Later that evening, Mrs L passed the foreign body.

An investigation was undertaken, which confirmed that Mrs L suffered a retained swab as a result of weaknesses in the system for accounting for swabs within the non-theatre environment of the delivery suite. There was a lack of communication of the swab from delivery suite to theatre. This was a “never event”.

Mrs L instructed Christina Mallery, a solicitor who specialises in clinical negligence claims. Christina obtained Mrs L’s medical records and drafted a witness statement.

Christina contacted the trust and invited them to make an early admission of liability. The trust admitted liability and the matter was settled shortly thereafter.

Christina Mallery specialises in obstetrics and gynaecology cases.  If you would like to ask Christina a question about a potential clinical negligence claim, or if you have a general query about any personal injury claims, contact Christina at Thomson Snell & Passmore solicitors on 01892 701183 in confidence.

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