Conceiving an unwanted pregnancy after undergoing a sterilisation procedure can be enough grounds to make a claim. Find out in this guide all about failed sterilisation claims.
One of the methods couples use to prevent conceiving another child is by getting sterilised. However, when things do not go according to plan, you may conceive an unwanted or wrongful pregnancy. If conceive after a sterilisation procedure, you may bring forward a failed sterilisation claim against the NHS or private hospital.
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. If for any reason it doesn’t, it can cause you harm physically or have consequences on your psychological wellbeing.
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.
However, the chances of vasectomy failing or female sterilisation failing increases when the medical professional is negligent. Claiming a sterilisation failure compensation will go a long way to help cushion the effect of the negligent treatment. It can also help you access quality healthcare while also covering whatever expenses you may have incurred.
In female sterilisation, the fallopian tubes which link the ovaries to the uterus are cut or blocked. This is to prevent eggs from travelling from the ovaries to the womb and becoming fertilised. Eggs will therefore continue to be released from the ovaries but they cannot be fertilised. These eggs will be reabsorbed 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 sterilisation where tubes which carry sperm from the testicles are severed. This means 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. Statistics show that 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 the procedure. Therefore, when a woman gets pregnant after sterilisation, a lot of issues can arise. A lot of questions will have to be answered-
- 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, etc.
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. Yes, it is a recognized risk for fallopian tubes and sperm ducts to regrow naturally after a sterilisation procedure.
However, we will determine if the failure was a result of medical negligence or natural causes. If we are able to demonstrate that your doctor was negligent, 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. However, he failed in that duty by his actions or inactions which 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: Here, we establish that your doctor’s actions or inactions has a direct link to the complications or emotional trauma you suffered. We will prove that the treatment you received directly caused the problems you are passing through and not natural causes.
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 on the individual.
You Need The Following Documents:
- Comprehensive statements of what transpired during the sterilisation process,
- The medical officer involved,
- medical records,
- Test and scan results,
- Witness statements
- Reports from an independent medical expert in the field after careful examination.
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 for a discussion. Our conversation sessions are for free where we will listen to your story and evaluate if your claims are valid. We will then proceed to assign you a specialist sterilisation 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. Our aim is to get the defendant to admit liability and then we negotiate the right settlement payout 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 need to access further medical treatment. Sometimes, where a medical negligence case is complex, it may take some years before the case is settled successfully. The interim payments we secure help you with your financial needs in the interim while waiting for the final payment.
Negligence Compensation for Sterilization Failure
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,
How We Undertake Failed Sterilisation Claims?
Our solicitors will undertake your Failed Sterilisation 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. This is a “success fee” while you receive the rest of your compensation award.
You can be rest assured that your claims will be handled by competent, dedicated and specialist negligence solicitors. We will aim at ensuring your case is resolved quickly so that you can put behind the unfortunate incident. We will also do our best to ensure your claims are settled out of court. That way you don’t have to worry about court proceedings.
You can fill out our quick Free Claim Assessment form or call us on 0800 644 4240 to get your claims started.