One of the methods couples use to prevent conceiving another child is by getting sterilized. However, when things do not go according to plan, you may conceive an unwanted or wrongful pregnancy.
If you have a case of pregnancy after female sterilisation, you may have a claim against the NHS or the private institution and bring forward failed sterilization claims.
Our medical negligence solicitors specializing in failed sterilisation claims are here to help you take a proper review of your case, evaluate if you have strong grounds for a claim and assist you to make your claims.
What Is A Failed Sterilisation Claim?
A failed sterilisation claim refers to a situation where an individual or couple takes legal action against their medical professional for vasectomy failure or failed female sterilisation which has now caused you to deal with an unplanned pregnancy, physical or mental health issues or some other form of complication.
When you make a decision to undergo a sterilisation procedure, you expect that the procedure will be successful and therefore if it doesn’t, it can cause you harm physically or have consequences on your psychological well being.
Sterilisation is not 100% guaranteed, as pregnancy after female sterilisation can happen because even after a successful sterilisation, it is possible to regrow fallopian tubes naturally. This means that the individual is no longer sterile. In this case it will be considered as a natural occurrence rather than medical negligence.
The chances of vasectomy failing or female sterilisation failing increases when the medical professional is negligent. Surgical errors leading to a failed sterilisation can be enough ground to make a failed operation claim. Claiming a sterilization failure compensation will go a long way to help cushion the effect of the negligent treatment, help you access quality healthcare while also covering for whatever expenses you have made as a result of negligent treatment.
In female sterilisation, the fallopian tubes which link the ovaries to the uterus are cut or blocked so as to prevent eggs from travelling from the ovaries to the womb and becoming fertilized. Eggs will therefore be continued to be released from the ovaries but they cannot be fertilized and so will be absorbed into the woman’s body. The procedure which is carried out under local anaesthesia is statistically less effective than a vasectomy. The NHS also recommends vasectomy as the more reliable sterilisation procedure.
Vasectomy is a process of male sterilization where tubes which carry sperm from the testicles are severed meaning that sperm will no longer be present in the semen thereby preventing the male from being fertile. While it is considered to be a permanent form of male sterilisation, it can sometimes be reversed surgically, other times it may be self-reversing.
As with other forms of birth control vasectomies are not always 100 percent effective with statistics showing that as many as 1 in 100 vasectomies fail. A failed vasectomy can cause a huge amount of psychological distress.
In both forms of sterilisation, the couple or individual makes a lot of considerations before electing to undergo those forms of sterilisation. Therefore, when a woman gets pregnant after sterilization, a lot of issues can be brought up which include considerations on whether or not to keep the unborn child, the effect of such unplanned change on you, your partner, other children and the entire family, whether you feel the child will have the quality of life they deserve.
The sterilisation procedure, unlike in the past where it was performed via a laparotomy (opening of the abdomen), is now performed mostly using laparoscopy (keyhole surgery).
The Pomeroy technique which was the most popular and successful laparotomy involved drawing the tube up into a loop and then tying off the base with catgut. Thereafter, the loop was then cut off.
On the other hand, the most common laparoscopic techniques include:
- Use of clips (otherwise known as Hulka-Clemens or Filshie techniques)
- Use of silastic rings (otherwise known as Falope rings)
- Using heat to cut the tubes (diathermy coagulation). As a result of its high failure rate, this method is becoming less common.
What Are The Risks Of Sterilisation?
- The severed fallopian tubes could rejoin, making you fertile again
- There is a small risk of complications such as infection and internal bleeding where the tubes are blocked.
- If a woman gets pregnant after sterilisation, she is at a greater risk of having ectopic pregnancy.
Can I Get Pregnant After Being Sterilised For 15 Years?
If you have not yet reached menopause, it is possible to get pregnant after being sterilised after 15 years if your fallopian tubes rejoin naturally in a process called recanalization. Recanalization is a known risk of sterilisation and often takes many years. Therefore, you may get pregnant after many years of being sterilised if you are one of the few women whose tubes have grown back together.
This cannot be considered negligent as it cannot be totally avoided.
Medical Negligence And Failed Sterilization
The following are medical negligence examples which can cause you to make failed sterilization claims;
- Surgical errors where clips are not attached properly or in the correctly placed to prevent the eggs from being able to travel to the womb.
- Failure to clamp or cut the fallopian tubes properly
- Failing to cut the sperm duct properly
- Failure to advise on using contraception for four months after a vasectomy
- Placing the sterilisation clips onto a nerve, blood vessel or nearby ligament instead of around the fallopian tubes causing discomfort, pain and injury to the payment.
- Failing to inform the patient on the risks associated with the procedure and getting their informed consent.
- Leaving a medical instrument is left inside of the body of the patient
- Failure to sterilize the surgical equipment before performing the procedure which could cause a serious infection
- Failing to carry our proper physical examinations on the patient and determining his or her level of fitness and suitability to undertake the procedure.
- Failure to provide the patient with adequate after-care
If your medical professional has performed in such ways as mentioned above or similar ones, you may have strong grounds to make a claim. Our medical negligence solicitors are happy and willing to help you.
We have a strong record of representing many clients in the past and securing for them best possible compensation amounts. Not only do we specialize in failed sterilization claims, we are also experts in making birth injury claims and all birth defects related claims.
Why Should I Make A Failed Sterilisation Claim?
It is your legal right to make a claim if you have been negligently treated. Although it is a recognized risk for fallopian tubes and sperm ducts to regrow naturally after a sterilisation procedure, we have the expertise in this area to determine if the failure was a result of medical negligence or natural causes.
If we are able to demonstrate this, then you are entitled to claim compensation.
The compensation you receive will be able to help you cover for an unwanted pregnancy, the mental distress, lost right to a reduced family size, loss of earnings, costs of re-sterilisation, additional care you need following a failed surgery, avoidable pain and suffering.
It is therefore in your best interests to make claims even as it will also help get the medical professional or hospital involved to recognise their error and make amends to avoid a recurrence.
We encourage you to reach out to us as we know how best to build your case, presenting a very strong legal representation and seeing that you get justice.
Making Your Failed Sterilisation Claims
When making a claim for failed sterilisation, you have to show that the failed sterilisation was due to medical negligence and not due to natural causes. Whether it is female sterilisation or vasectomy, you must be able to prove that the treatment or surgery you receive was not carried out according to approved standards of medical practice and that you have suffered as a result. By this we are saying that under the same circumstances, another medical professional would not have acted in the same way as yours.
Two important points we need to prove;
Liability: By liability we mean that we have to show that the medical professional owed you a duty of care but failed in that duty by being negligent or performing actions that have put your health and wellbeing in jeopardy. This is where we have to establish that another medical professional would have performed differently even in the same circumstances.
Causation: By causation, we show that the medical professional’s actions or inactions has a direct link to the harm, complications or emotional trauma and suffering you are passing through. What this means is that we have to show that the negligent treatment you received directly caused the problems you are passing through and not as a result of a natural phenomenon.
Both liability and causation have to be proven in any medical negligence claim to successfully prove the claim. If one part is established without the other, then the claim cannot be successful. It is not enough to show that a medical professional was negligent without showing the resultant effects of that negligent treatment.
Documents such as comprehensive statements of what transpired during the sterilisation process, the medical officer involved, medical records, test and scan results, witness statements, as well as reports from an independent medical expert in the field on the severity of injury and extent of damage.
Our medical negligence solicitors can assist you make available these documents if you are unable to do so. Even if you are unsure if you have a claim or not, you can still reach out to us to discuss with you during our free consultation session where we will listen to your story, evaluate if you have a valid claim and proceed to assign you a specialist sterilisation claims solicitor to guide you through your claims.
We will work assiduously to ensure that we build your case by gathering enough evidence needed and providing you with strongest possible legal representation. We will also employ our negotiation skills to get the defense party to admit liability and proceed to negotiate the best possible compensation pay out for you.
Where necessary, we can also secure interim payments for you before the final settlement fee is agreed. This is because you might be going through financial difficulties and you may also need to access further medical treatment in the meantime. Sometimes, where a medical negligence case is complex, it may take some number of years before the case is settled successfully. Therefore, the interim payments secured will help you take care of financial needs in the interim while waiting for the final payment.
Sterilization Failure Compensation
Your sterilisation failure compensation is not fixed but depends on the factors surrounding your case. No two medical negligence claims are the same and so their settlement payout will be different too.
However, the law now states that you will be awarded the following for an unwanted pregnancy:
- £15,000 for the infringement of the right to limit your family size
- £5,000 for the pain and suffering of labour
Other determinants which affect your compensation fee include;
- Costs of an unwanted pregnancy
- The emotional trauma
- Infringement on your right to choose your family size
- Loss of earnings
- Costs of re-sterilisation
- Additional care you need following a failed surgery,
No Win No Fee Failed Sterilisation Claims
We are no win no fee failed sterilisation claims solicitors who will undertake your claims under our —No Win No Fee Policy which makes it possible for you to make your claims without paying legal costs.
We will not ask for any legal fees before we can represent you, nor throughout the claims process and even if your claims were not successful, you are protected from making any payments to us.
However, after a successful claim, we will deduct 25% of your settlement payout as what we call “success fee” while you receive the rest of your compensation award.
You can rest assured that your claims will be handled by competent, dedicated and specialist negligence solicitors who will not only ensure your case is resolved quickly so that you can put behind the unfortunate incident, but also your claims are settled out of court.