Botched C Section Recovery; Do I Have a Medical Malpractice Case?
by Mastula (Florida)
On 4/21 I had a scheduled c section and stayed inpatient for my c section recovery. While still in the hospital around day 2 post-op the area below my incision became noticeably swollen and painful and pink. I asked medical staff who were repeatedly checking my incision about the swelling and I was assured it was normal.
The swelling, pain and discomfort continued to increase in size on day 3 and 4 of my c section recovery. I again repeatedly asked the medical staff about the swelling and again I was assured it was normal and will subside within 2 weeks. I asked for a 2nd opinion and several different RN's came in to look at it and again they said it was normal and just swelling or edema.
By this time the swelling had increased to the size of a softball in my pubic bone just below the incision. On both day 3 and 4 OB doctors looked at my incision area with the swelling and pain present and disregarded the swelling I had mentioned. On day 4 post op I was discharged from the hospital to continue the c section recovery at home.
On day five I was nursing my newborn and a large amount of warm bloody fluid gushed from my incision soaking my clothes. I called my OB doctor and they said I needed to come see the OB. I made an appointment to see the OB the next morning. The OB told me it was just a seroma and was normal during c section recoveries.
He placed a sanitary pad on the area and sent me on my way even though I told him about my gushing blood and swelling pain in the area. The area begin to swell painfully again to the size of a softball.
Two days later while sitting down eating dinner in a restaurant with my family it burst and gushed the fluid again soaking my clothes with blood and fluid. I got up cleaned the myself. While cleaning myself I could see the fluid seeping out of my incision.
It happened again immediately after sitting back down. It repeated this gushing at least 5 more times that day. I called the OB and they said to come in and they again told me it was normal during a c section recovery.
By this time I could see what appeared to be a stitch protruding from my incision and it was noticeably red and warm near the incision. The OB told me it was nothing to be concerned about and if all is not normal at 6 weeks postpartum then I should call them. The OB told me to wear "sundresses" to ease the discomfort. He said he could give me antibiotics if I wanted them but I did not need them. It continued to be swollen and painful.
Two days later I called the OB again and was told I needed to be seen. This time the OB (different one) could see that my incision was open and could see the stitch. She confirmed it was warm to the touch. She said she had to drain it and open my incision so she could pack it.
She packed it and told me to have my husband pack it (who was not present) daily since my insurance was no longer active and I could not cover home nurse visits. She put me on antibiotics and took a culture of the fluid. The next day since my husband did not feel comfortable packing it we went to the ER for them to pack it. We spent 6 hours there with our 3 children. They packed it and sent me home.
That night I began developing chills and a fever (102 degrees) that lasted through the night and I began feeling very ill. The next morning I went back to the ER where the ER doctor stated my incision looked worse than yesterday and the fluid was looking more pus like.
The OB came to see me in the ER and packed it without covering the wound, she stated I had a breast infection and sent me home even though I had a fever over 100 degrees. They again cultured the fluid leaking from my incision because all the days during my c section recovery the wound continued to leak fluid, saturating the wound dressings. They gave me IV antibiotics and prescribed new ones and sent me home.
The next day I was to follow up with the OB. At my OB appointment the doctor said the wound opening was getting worse and I should have been admitted because of the fever. She stated I would need to completely re-open the wound and have a wound vacuum installed for it to heal. She said she was concerned about the pain I was feeling and it needed to be checked for further infection.
I was admitted that day to the hospital again and the next day the OB completely opened my incision and a wound nurse installed the wound vacuum. I spent 4 days in the hospital away from my newborn son whom I was breastfeeding. I was put on multiple IV antibiotics and told on the 3rd day I had Coagulase negative staphylococcal infection by an infection disease doctor. On the 4th day I was discharged.
I had to reinstate my health insurance via cobra so that I could have the wound vacuum installed. I am on the wound vacuum and have been told different time frames for how long I will have to use it. I have a home nurse now coming to change it out 3 times a week (whom states it could be on for at least 6 to 8 more weeks).
I am unable to return to my job as a flight attendant until this c section recovery is finished and I am completely healed, which has a huge financial impact on me. I am unable to care for my 3 children without help. The infection also spread to my breast making nursing difficult. I do not know at this time when I will be completely recovered.
Can I sue the OB doctors for failing to repeatedly diagnose and treat my surgical infection? This caused the infection to get worse and forced my to undergo more procedures (re-opening), prolonging my c section recovery and increasing my suffering? Thank you for any help.
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ANSWER for "Botched C Section Recovery; Do I Have a Medical Malpractice Case?":
Clearly you have suffered greatly, but before suing anyone you will have to do a substantial amount of research. In cases like these often it's not only doctors that may be liable. The hospitals may share some of the liability as well.
From the facts you present we would agree the doctors and hospital may have been negligent in the treatment of your incision. In addition to recovering your actual damages which include medical bills, pharmaceuticals, and similar costs, you may be entitled to recover for your Mental Anguish. In rare cases if the court believes the hospital and the doctors were recklessly negligent you may be entitled to Punitive Damages.
If you decide to go through with this lawsuit you should be prepared for a long hard road. Because there were several doctors involved there may be a lot of “finger pointing”. And the hospitals may fight back rather ferociously as well. Our best advice would be to visit with a qualified and reputable Personal Injury Attorney. The sheer magnitude of your case requires professional counsel.
The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from an attorney licensed in your state. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here, or call (888) 647-2490.
The accuracy of information provided on this site is not guaranteed. It is generic information for informal purposes only. It is NOT formal legal advice. Your use of this site does NOT create an attorney-client relationship. Before relying on any information found in this site you should consult with a licensed attorney in your state. If you are currently represented by an attorney, you should strictly abide by his/her counsel.