Recently medical negligence damages were awarded recently when a case from January 2012 was seen in court.
It all started in January 2012, a woman began to not feel well and thought it was due to a virus. However, she soon recognised the symptoms as those belonging to a beginning pregnancy but did not believe that as she had received a contraceptive implant. This implant was a small white rod that was inserted into her upper arm and is one of the forms of birth control that is effective for a long time as it lasts for three years. However, a pregnancy test confirmed that she was pregnant.
The woman decided to continue with the pregnancy and arranged with her doctor for the removal of the implant. When he did so, he noticed it was a different colour than what he had expected. This often means that a placebo had been implanted rather than an active contraceptive device. When the woman had her scan at 12 weeks, which was three weeks after the removal of the placebo implant, the woman learned that she was expecting twins. The Trust confirmed with her in March 2012 that the implant was a placebo and that a full investigation would be undertaken to determine why she had been implanted with a placebo.
The Trust found that it was an event that never should have happened and could not determine or explain why the placebo had been implanted. The woman was devastated as this pregnancy was unplanned and it put her in a position to change her lifestyle so that she could not look for permanent work causing money to be very tight.
After the Trust’s investigation, the woman sought out legal advice. She was shocked and distressed by having to go through a single pregnancy which was completely unexpected and suffered from gestational diabetes and post natal depression and an adjustment disorder after her twins were born. The solicitors explained to the Trust that duty of care was breached and that it was responsible for the wrongful birth of her twins. In July 2012, the Trust admitted liability and awarded the woman an interim payment of £10,000 to assist with the upcoming birth.
After the birth, the House of Lords ruled that any additional damages for costs associated with unplanned births cannot be made unless the child had injuries during birth or suffered from birth defects. As the twins were both healthy when they were born, the woman was awarded £44,000 in an out-of-court settlement in recognition of the unwanted pregnancy, health issues during and after the pregnancy and compensation for maternity expenses and loss of freedom to limit the size of her family.