When some people decide that their family is as big as they want it to be they decide to opt for a medical procedure to prevent the chance of any further pregnancies in the future. A man will have an operation called a vasectomy and a women will have a procedure called sterilisation.
Both procedures have developed over many years and are generally successful in preventing any further pregnancies and births but they can go wrong and be ineffective and result in unwanted pregnancies.
Do You Have A Claim?
What’s important, when looking to make a claim for medical negligence, is to establish why the procedure failed. Any surgeon or nurse involved in either procedure should make the patient aware of the risks involved as it is possible for the sperm duct or the fallopian tubes (where the egg travels to the womb) to grow back naturally. These are completely valid and natural reasons for the procedure to fail that will not be classed as negligent and cannot be claimed for.
There are cases where doctors make mistakes while performing the operation that still won’t be valid reasons for claiming. For instance if a doctor cuts a piece of ligament instead of the sperm duct the operation will have failed but the after care tests will pick up that the patient is still producing sperm and will be told not to have unprotected sex. Therefore any claims for compensation would fail because of the advice provided. If the mistake wasn’t spotted until follow up surgery because a patient was still producing sperm then there could be a case for compensation.
In sterilisation the fallopian tubes are clipped with Filshie clips. If these are not secured properly then they can fall off and subsequently make pregnancy viable again.
If a sterilisation has to be repeated then independent specialists will oversee the operation to see if the clips fell off naturally or if they weren’t secured properly in the first operation. If it is deemed that the clips were insecure then there would be a case for medical negligence compensation.
What Is Medical Negligence Compensation Paid Out For?
Over many years the compensation awarded by the courts has gone from nothing at all to compensation for pain and suffering, the loss of the right for a person to control the size of their family and also for all future costs of raising the child including education costs, school uniform and all other costs associated with raising the child. This led to massive claims and was seen to be out of control.
In 2003 law lords decided that there should be a £15,000 standard compensation amount for losing the right to control family size because of somebody else’s negligence and a further £5000 payment for the pain and suffering during labour. Further costs can be awarded for one off costs such as cots and prams and finally for financial loss of earnings during the maternity period.
There are strict time limits for making claims for failed sterilisations of vasectomies.
The patient needs to start their claim within 3 years of finding out that a pregnancy was caused by somebody else’s mistake. Obviously if one of the natural reasons mentioned above are the cause then negligence will not be found to be the cause.
Choosing A Solicitor
In theory a patient could choose any solicitor that is listed with the law society but in reality some solicitors probably wouldn’t take on a case of medical negligence as they specialise in other areas of law.
It’s important to choose a solicitor who specialises in medical negligence cases and can provide evidence of recent cases they’ve taken on regarding to failed vasectomies or sterilisations.
This type of case is very personal to the patient and so it is recommended that they take care when choosing a solicitor and make use of free consultations so that they can understand the plan of action that the solicitor is going to follow and also to ensure that they are happy to talk about very personal matters.
It is recommended to ask to see the actual solicitor that will be dealing with the case and not just somebody who’s trying to sell the company’s services.