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Perinatal birth plan: Clarke Willmott secures £12,000 compensation for client

Clarke Willmott has recently obtained £12,000 in compensation for a client as a result of the hospital failing to follow her perinatal birth plan.

The pregnancy in question was our client’s third pregnancy following a first trimester miscarriage and a successful caesarean section. The previous caesarean section was complicated by the need for neonatal resuscitation which our client found very traumatic. Our client suffered significant post natal depression following that delivery, and was put on anti-depressants. She also received input from the perinatal mental health team in the form of regular counselling sessions. She was diagnosed as suffering from a moderately severe depressive illness. As part of her ongoing therapy our client had discussions with the therapist about what may happen if she fell pregnant again because she was extremely anxious about a further relapse. She was advised that if a further pregnancy did occur, a referral could be made to the local perinatal team and that she could remain on antidepressants throughout the pregnancy.

Our client did fall pregnant again two years later. At her booking appointment it was noted that she had previously suffered severe post natal depression and had been under the care of the mother and baby unit. A care plan was put together following a meeting with our client and the perinatal mental health nurse. It was noted that our client was doing well this pregnancy but was at increased risk of post natal depression and increased anxiety, however it was noted that with the plan in place for support and medication this risk would be reduced. It was also noted that our client felt that earlier support in her previous post natal period would have helped. The overall risk of relapse was noted to be moderate. The perinatal mental health nurse agreed to write a plan for our client and confirmed that a copy would be provided to the health visitor and the community midwife.

Delivery of our client’s daughter occurred naturally, albeit the daughter required initial resuscitation but made a good recovery. Our client was discharged home five days after delivery. The birth plan was not followed at all during her stay. It was recorded on her discharge summary that she had anxiety and depression and previous severe post natal depression. 12 days after delivery the perinatal mental health nurse who compiled our client’s care plan visited her. It was noted that our client had high anxiety despite her medication, and the nurse did not observe our client handle the baby all visit. Our client continued to experience escalating anxiety and low mood. Her sleep was poor. Almost 4 months after delivery she was given the option to be admitted to the mother and baby unit. She remained there for six weeks with her daughter, before being discharged.

Our client submitted a complaint about the failure to implement her mental health plan and the response from the Defendant hospital accepted that the plan had not been implemented despite it being clearly recorded on the hospital’s IT system. Our client continues to suffer from poor memory and lack of concentration which affects not only her work life but her home life. Her relationship with her husband broke down irretrievably. This has added additional stress to the situation and our client now has to look after the two children on her own.

We obtained supportive expert evidence which confirmed that following delivery of her child our client suffered from a significant post natal depressive episode with some elements of PTSD. She had recovered to her pre pregnancy status within 12 months of delivery, so the value of the claim was reasonably limited. Negotiations took part between Gemma Osgood from Clarke Willmott solicitors and NHS Resolution and settlement was reached in the sum of £12,000.


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