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Mother died after suffering a second serious medical negligence incident

In 1998, Mrs L was expecting her third child. She underwent an emergency Caesarean Section for pre-eclampsia at 34 weeks gestation. She suffered a placental abruption with 700 mls blood loss.

Posted on 17 January 2023

She was given anticoagulant medication at 12.45 hours and a further dose at 16.00 hours. The midwives did not carry out any observations after 15.15 (despite being a post operative patient, and despite being given anticoagulation), until 17:15 when she was noted to have abnormal breathing, was unresponsive and had no recordable blood pressure. A cardiac arrest call was put out. She was taken to theatre and 2 litres of blood was found in her abdomen.

She had three further operations resulting in hysterectomy. She also suffered a right sided stroke, which eventually resolved. She suffered renal failure, and eventually required a renal transplant.

A claim was issued in the High Court in 2001, and a full admission of liability was made in 2002.

The claim settled for £450,000.

In 2015 it was noted that the transplant was beginning to fail, and a further transplant was being contemplated.

In February 2016, Mrs L attended her GP with a one week history of headache. She had very raised blood pressure and was referred to the Royal Free Hospital where she was admitted. A prescription for intravenous Labetalol was written, with the intention of reducing the blood pressure slowly, and blood pressure parameters were set beneath which the blood pressure was not allowed to fall.

Despite the instruction to reduce the blood pressure slowly, and not to reduce it below the prescribed parameters, the nurses failed to note the rapid fall in blood pressure to below the prescribed limit. Sadly, Mrs L became unconscious, and MRI scanning showed she had suffered a bleed into her brain as a result of the massive drop in her blood pressure. Mrs L was transferred to ITU, and subsequently died on 08 March 2016.

Liability was eventually admitted in full, and we have just settled the claim for a six figure sum.

Although Mrs L died almost 20 years after the initial negligence, it was that first negligence which caused her to need the transplant, which then failed, which then led to the second negligence and as a result she died. 

Mrs L’s family are represented by Olive Lewin, who settled the first claim for a six-figure sum followed by a second a six-figure sum for the second claim. She said:

“My client’s wife had the incredible misfortune of suffering two major medical negligence incidents in her life. The first, at Homerton Hospital, resulted in her having to have a hysterectomy and kidney transplant, as well as utterly ruining her first few months with her third child. The second, at the Royal Free Hospital, resulted in my client’s wife losing her life. The negligence that led to this tragedy for her family was completely avoidable. I am glad to have been able to secure a sizeable sum for my client, but of course nothing will make up for years he and his children have lost with their mother who was only 52 when she died. We can only hope the same mistakes will not be repeated.”

Olive Lewin (1)
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Olive Lewin

Olive is an experienced healthcare lawyer who has specialised in the field for more than 25 years, having previously trained as a nurse

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