A new mum missed the birth of her firstborn child when doctors realised they had failed to give her enough anaesthetic for her caesarean section – quickly putting her to sleep after she felt the surgical knife going into her.
Doctors had been performing an emergency C-section at Wythenshawe Hospital, Manchester when the error was made.
As a result of missing the birth, the mum suffered a string of psychological problems, including a fear of death, suffering flashbacks, panic attacks and severe depression.
She also felt her bond with her daughter was affected, and frequently relied on a relative to care for her baby.
The University Hospital of South Manchester NHS Foundation Trust, which runs the hospital, wrote a personal letter of apology to the mum following the incident.
It admitted an inadequate dose of epidural was given, and that had a larger dose been given, it would have resulted in less pain and suffering. It has now agreed a compensation settlement of £8,000 after the woman took legal action through medical negligence specialists Hudgell Solicitors.
A report by a psychiatrist stated that the mum, who also split from the father of her child, was severely depressed for two-and-a-half years following the birth in September 2012, and is now fearful of having more children.
In that time she also developed anxiety, and would wake in the night experiencing hallucinations and panic attacks.
Ashleigh Dance, a medical negligence specialists at Hudgell Solicitors, said: “This was a very distressing incident for our client.
“The birth of her first child should have been a joyous moment, but instead she was put to sleep and missed it because of the error made when giving her anaesthetic.
“Added to that, she suffered from more than two years of psychological problems relating to the terrible circumstances of her daughter’s birth, where she felt the pain of the surgical procedure being performed.
“The trust quite rightly apologised to her, and admitted that had they given the correct quantity of anaesthesia, the pain and suffering caused to the claimant would have been avoided. We are glad that they have now also agreed to our client being compensated for her suffering, and the impact the error had on her life.”
In the letter, the then Chief Executive of University Hospital of South Manchester NHS Foundation Trust, personally apologised for the incident.
Professor Attila Vegh, who has since stepped down from the post, wrote: “I would like to apologise to you for the failures in the treatment provided to you during your caesarean section.
“On behalf of the staff and the Trust, I am genuinely sorry for the injury caused as a result of the failure to provide adequate anaesthesia prior to your caesarean section. Whilst I realise there is nothing that can be said or done to change what happened, I hope that this letter goes some small way to expressing our regret for the failure to meet your expectation.”