I went to see a lawyer about a month ago to see if we possibly had a medical negligence case against the hospital where BC was born.
I hadn’t ever considered doing this until I met Dr Derek (the troppodoc) while travelling in the Sumatran jungle a few months ago. I told him a little of BC’s birth and he urged me to look into it. If a doctor down the road had said the same thing, I wouldn’t have really listened I don’t think. But this is a doctor who is working in a part of Sumatra where there are NO doctors. Where people die of totally preventable causes – or often causes unknown. Here we are, in a developed country with a supposedly first class medical system and 3 years on, I still didn’t really know WHY our boy’s birth went so badly and IF it could have been avoided.
I was wary that I could get angry if there WAS a case against the hospital. Wary too because I honestly think I have accepted BC’s condition and don’t hold any grudges or regrets about my choice of hospitals etc. I also wasn’t sure I wanted to be involved in a long litigious process. BUT thanks to Dr Derek, I did want a few answers. Realised I actually needed them.
Looking online for a medical negligence lawyer is a real eye opener. It is a real ‘business’ for lots of lawyers. I didn’t want that. I didn’t like their websites. They didn’t include the lawyers’ names and some even provided false and misleading information about cerebral palsy (one claimed that a very high percentage of people with CP have limited intellect). So I chose a well reputed law firm and spoke with a lawyer whose questions indicated pretty clearly that she knew exactly what she was talking about.
The lawyer was brisk but friendly during the appointment. I liked her. She read through the medical records and asked a lot of questions about the birth, paying particular attention to the timing of certain events. We spent about 45 minutes reviewing the birth. And weirdly, I didn’t feel upset or angry at all. I was just really curious to hear what she had to say.
She said that we had causation absolutely. That athetoid cerebral palsy most often is caused by trauma in the final stage of labour. But negiligence? Her overall observation was that there wasn’t a strong case. If a case at all. But she wanted to run it by an obstetrician to see if he could “see” anything further in the report.
She was very apologetic. Even more so today when she rang to say that the obstetrician agreed with her and they didn’t think we would win a case. She apologised profusely. But she didn’t need to.
I know it’s her job and this meant she wasn’t getting work, but I I don’t think she was disappointed for that reason alone. She’s one of the good guys. I think she was more sorry that she wouldn’t be able to help secure us funds to help with BC’s future.
But me? Yes, a tiny little disappointed that we won’t have the chance to get much needed funds that we could put towards caring for BC and towards him having a worry free and independent future. But we will do our best to provide for him and prepare him for the future.
The most overwhelming emotion that I felt was absolute relief. Relief that we had no-one to blame. Relief that we wouldn’t be going through a long legal process. And most of all relief that we had no reason to be angry. That things just are the way the way they are.
We are blessed that our wonderful little boy is alive. I will be giving him an extra big hug and kiss at bedtime tonight.