Woman wins claim against NHS Trust after surgical packing left in her body after giving birth

A 27-year old woman from East Yorkshire was left in constant pain and physical discomfort brought on by the underlying presence of surgical packing which went unnoticed by medical professionals after giving birth to her son.

These are the damning findings of a medical negligence case which involved a personal injury claims specialist taking on Hull and East Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust on the legal grounds of breach of duty, with the latter forced to pay-out a sum said to be in the region of £7,500 to compensate the victim in relation to her avoidable pain and suffering as a result of this negligence.

Explaining the series of events which led to this claim being pursued on her behalf, Elise Cattle describes how she experienced several months of pain, bleeding and recurrent infections as an immediate physical legacy of giving birth to her son Freddie at Hull Women and Children’s Hospital.

So unbearable and mobility compromising was the claimant’s acute discomfort suffered that she spoke of not even being able to walk properly during this period in question. Unfortunately it wasn’t until five months following her otherwise successful delivery of her new-born son, that Cattle’s GP referred their long-suffering patient for a consultation, whereby the subsequent examination uncovered physical evidence of surgical packing.

According to reports, the surgival packing is routinely used to stem any excessive bleeding during and in the immediate aftermath of birth, however on this specific occasion – and with regards to the claimant – the packing materials had been mistakenly left inside her body thereafter.

Such medical oversights are termed as ‘never events’ by NHS England, which covers a number of serious health incidents (all which have implications in their individual right) which the NHS officially deem to be ‘wholly preventable’; in the context of being avoidable situations should medical staff have adhered to procedure and systems in place at the time of the retrospective event unfolding.

Unfortunately Cattle’s nightmare scenario wasn’t an isolated one of late, as just recently separate research revealed that nearly 1,200 events of an unacceptable nature (and classed as ‘unacceptable serious events’) have played out in hospitals across the country since 2012.

Cattle’s story took place three-and-a-half years ago, yet the personal injury claim outcome has only now come to light via various news sources, and the damage (although physical in original context) caused by the breach of duty still impacts on the young mum’s relationship with her son.

Cattle admits that to her mind there’s still a distinct absence of a true bond with her first born, which was triggered in the days, weeks and months immediately after giving birth. Reliving the difficult time, Cattle recalls; “I couldn’t sit down for days afterwards, and had to use a rubber ring to sit on. I was laid on the sofa while my mum and dad did everything. It really affected my bond with Freddie. I felt like I’d failed him.”

The extent of Cattle’s physical inability to provide for Freddie manifested not just in the sense of cuddling her son, but also seriously compromising bath times and nappie-changing tasks, due to the level of pain she endured. A pain which quickly diminished once the root cause had been substantiated and the packing removed by another medical procedure.

Addressing this specific case, Cattle’s personal injury claims solicitor stressed; “Elise’s case highlights how completely avoidable errors in hospitals can have a damaging impact on the lives of patients and their families. It is wholly unacceptable that hundreds of patients across the country are finding themselves the victims of serious errors that simply shouldn’t happen.”

The firm whose legal assistance and professional perseverance ensured that its client received the financial compensation that she justifiably deserved and was eventually awarded, went on to challenge the NHS about the on-going issue surrounding these so-called ‘never events’, adding; “It is accepted by the NHS that these errors are being made simply because healthcare staff and providers are not following clear, simple guidelines.”


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