Delayed C-Section leads to uterine rupture and bladder damage

24 October 2023

Delayed C Section leads to uterine rupture and bladder damage

Simon Towler, medical negligence specialist in Shoosmiths’ serious injury team, acted for a client who suffered from a bladder injury following the birth of her daughter in May 2020.

This was our client’s second pregnancy; she delivered her first child via emergency caesarean section in 2016. 

In May 2020 our client, who was 40 weeks pregnant, contacted the defendant hospital’s maternity unit because her waters had broken.

While there was initially a plan for a natural birth, a delay in response to an abnormal CTG scan and inappropriate administration of Syntocinon (used to stimulate the uterus to start or help contractions), meant that the baby was delivered via emergency caesarean section. 

Unfortunately, the caesarean section was not performed in time to prevent a full uterine rupture and perforated bladder, which meant subsequent surgery to repair the injuries was required. 

Our client was discharged five days after surgery with a catheter. On her return home, she was sadly unable to look after or bond with her new-born baby at this very important time and needed assistance from a family member. 

Around two weeks later, she returned to the hospital for an X-ray of her bladder (a cystogram), which showed that her bladder had healed without leakage, so the catheter was removed. 

Despite this, she was advised by a midwife not to have any more children because of the risk of future uterine ruptures and recurring bladder issues. This was upsetting for her as, although she was not planning another pregnancy, she would have liked the option. 

As a result of the negligent care, our client developed mild post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, and intimacy issues. 

Our client instructed Simon Towler to investigate the antenatal care she received, namely the hospital’s failure to explain the risks and benefits of a vaginal birth following a previous caesarean section. 

Following a formal Letter of Claim sent to the trust, an admission from the hospital was eventually received regarding their failure to warn our client of the risks of a natural birth following a caesarean section, and a failure to act upon the abnormal CTG results. 

In addition, an admission was also made regarding the inappropriate use of Syntocinon, confirming that it should not have been administered.   

Had our client known of the risks, she would have proceeded with a caesarean section from the outset, and the delay would have been avoided. It was accepted that those basic failures in her care caused her to develop the uterine rupture. 

The trust has since apologised for the substandard care our client received. 

Simon Towler comments:

“Abnormal CTG readings are often the only warning sign of impending uterine rupture, which can be catastrophic for the mother and baby. However, before that, the mother should have been properly informed about the risks and benefits of attempting a natural birth as opposed to a planned C-section.”



This information is for educational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. It is recommended that specific professional advice is sought before acting on any of the information given. © Shoosmiths LLP 2024

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