A First time mum-to-be was left facing weeks of worry over the health of her unborn baby after a mix up at a GP surgery led to a nurse mistakenly giving her the MMR injection when she was heavily pregnant.
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Emma Cave, 25, of West Yorkshire, says she felt sick to the stomach when doctors called her back to surgery the day after their error – sending her straight to hospital for checks on both her, and her unborn child’s condition.
Miss Cave had been invited into a GP surgery in Leeds to have the whooping cough vaccine, which is widely given during pregnancy as it protects a baby from developing the condition during the first few weeks of its life.
However, having been unable to sleep at all that night as she suffered from flu like symptoms, Miss Cave was then called by the GP surgery the following morning and asked to return as a matter of urgency.
“I had been up feeling ill all night, so I knew something was wrong, and then I got to the call to go back to the surgery,” Miss Cave recalled.
“I felt sick to the stomach when they told me what had happened. It was all a complete shock really as you expect nurses and doctors to know what they are doing, and not make such silly, potentially serious mistakes.
“It wouldn’t have been so bad had they been able to fully assure me there and then that there was no danger of harm to my baby, but they couldn’t. Unfortunately, whilst they said the risk was small, they couldn’t say with absolute certainty that no harm had been caused and they sent me straight to the hospital to be examined and monitored.”
Absolute reassurance could not be given by the hospital either, who advised Miss Cave that the only time the consequences of the surgery’s error would become clear was following her baby’s birth.
Thankfully, her son was found not to be in distress at the time, but that was little comfort to Miss Cave, and her partner Luke Egan, as they faced weeks of worry, which was added to by her experiencing reduced movements from her baby on no less than seven occasions.
“From that point on I was constantly worrying. I was in and out of hospital for checks because I couldn’t feel the baby moving on many occasions, although perhaps the anxiety and stress of all I had gone through made me panicky,” added Miss Cave.
“Whenever the baby stopped moving, I feared the worst. They had put that fear in my mind.”
Thankfully, baby Harrison was born healthy and well, on August 18, 2013.
Six weeks later, a health review confirmed there were no concerns, and Miss Cave has now been compensated with a £3,000 pay-out for the stress and anxiety caused to her over a 17 week period, from the day of her wrong injection to Harrison finally being given the all clear.
The practice involved admitted that Miss Cave had been wrongly administered the MMR vaccine and apologised to her for the error.
Kay Barnes, senior solicitor at Neil Hudgell Solicitors, represented Miss Cave. She said: “This was a very distressing time for Miss Cave and her partner, causing a great deal of unnecessary anxiety during what can already be a stressful and difficult time for a mother going through pregnancy, and perhaps even more anxious for Miss Cave as this was her first pregnancy.
“Every new mum-to-be naturally worries about the health of their baby, so to have this extra worry placed upon her, for weeks both before and also after Harrison’s birth, was not unacceptable. It was a mother’s nightmare nonetheless, an unfortunate incident involving negligent treatment which could have been completely avoided had proper care been taken. It was some comfort to Miss Cave that an apology was made.”
Now aged 13 months, little Harrison is a bundle of energy and almost ready to take his first steps.
“After everything we have been through it has just been a complete relief to see Harrison healthy and happy,” added Miss Cave.