Failed Sterilisation

28th June 2011
By Julie Glynn in Medical Malpractice
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Copyright (c) 2011 Julie Glynn

If you decide your family is complete, you may opt to have a sterilisation, an operation that results in a permanent method of contraception for women. While it is relatively simple operation that is considered reliable, there are times when a woman goes on to conceive after a sterilisation. If this unwanted pregnancy or wrongful birth occurred because medical staff acted negligently, then there may be a case of medical negligence.

How Does The Sterilisation Procedure Work?

Before you consent to having a sterilisation procedure, a consultant must first advise you of all the risks. Along with factors such as infection, bowel injury and bleeding, you must be informed that there is a slim chance the sterilisation process may not work. This is because there is the possibility that your fallopian tubes will naturally rejoin over time. Alternatively, you may have an egg currently present in your uterus lining, which is why it is imperative you continue to use contraception until your next menstrual cycle.

Counselling and the necessary healthcare checks (including a pregnancy test) should then be carried out. As long as you are not pregnant and do not have any other psychological or gynaecological problems, you will be able to go ahead with surgery.

The operation itself involves a surgeon cutting or blocking your fallopian tubes to ensure the egg cannot travel to your uterus and thus come into contact with sperm. The most popular method of sterilisation is to use Filschie Clips, which act as a permanent clamp on each fallopian tube. Immediately after the operation, the surgeon should take steps to ensure the procedure was a success before taking photographs as evidence.

How Can A Sterilisation Fail?

While it is considered an effective form of contraception, around 1 in 200 women will undergo a sterilisation procedure that proves to be unsuccessful. As mentioned above, such a failure can be due to reasons beyond the control of healthcare professionals. For example, it is possible the fallopian tubes naturally rejoin.

However, a failed sterilisation may also be attributed to the negligence of medical staff. Such errors usually occur for one of three reasons:-

* A failure to carry out a pre-operative pregnancy test;

* Poor post-operative advice regarding the need to continue with contraception until the next menstrual cycle;

* The surgeon did not perform the operation correctly, and did not take measures to ensure it was a success.

What Can You Do If Your Sterilisation Has Failed?

If you conceive a child after having a sterilisation, you will need to discover exactly how you managed to become pregnant. Should your fallopian tubes have rejoined naturally, then you will need to have another operation or consider alternative methods of contraception. If this has not been the case, however, then it is likely your unwanted pregnancy was the result of medical negligence. Whether or not you decide to continue with the pregnancy, if you have conceived because medical staff failed to carry out treatment property, then you should contact a legal expert to discuss your options. A medical negligence solicitor will be able to discuss the details of your case with you. If you then decide to make a claim, you may be able to claim compensation for any damages you have endured - financially, physically and emotionally.


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