Abortion Medical Negligence - Solicitors Compensation Claim UK


The word 'abortion' covers several situations and circumstances, both interventionist and natural. It is defined as the termination of a pregnancy by surgical means, resulting in the death of the foetus. An equally valid use of the term abortion describes the mortality of the foetus sometimes due to unknown causes and resulting in natural expulsion or surgical removal.

There are many different ways in which a surgical abortion, can go wrong often as a result of medical negligence. If you believe that you may have a potential compensation just call our HELPLINE or email our solicitors offices for advice from an abortion medical negligence solicitor. Our specialist lawyers use the no win no fee* scheme, all information is confidential and there is no charge for initial advice and no further obligation to use our legal services.

Description of Procedures

An abortion can be carried out in several ways. The possibilities of complications can be clearly seen from the following list, which describes abortion procedures that are commonly performed. The list is in order of the procedures performed from very early pregnancy to late pregnancy:

    RU486 (The Abortion Pill): This drug is only approved in some countries and may be used up to the 49th day after the last menstrual period. Three visits are required: one to ingest the pills to terminate the foetus; the second to induce the expulsion of the foetus; and, the third, to ensure the procedure was successful.

    Vacuum Aspiration: A syringe is attached to a long tube and the foetus is extracted by suction.

    Suction Curettage: This is a double procedure where cervix is stretched open and a tube passed into the uterus. The foetus is crushed and disintegrated in order to fit through the tube and be suctioned out. The abortion practitioner then performs a curette to clear the remaining foetal elements out of the uterus.

    Dilation and Evacuation (D&E): This is a two day process where, on the first day, thin seaweed rods are inserted into the uterus and, the next day, the cervix is stretched wide open and the skull of the foetus crushed for easy removal. A curette is performed to remove any remaining parts and tissue. It is done under general anaesthetic.

    Dilation and Extraction (D&X): This process takes approximately three days. Day one involves the use of ultrasound guidance to inject the foetus with a lethal medication. Then, over course of the next day, the cervix is stretched gradually, and, on the third day, the amniotic sac is pierced and the D&E is performed.

The above list is not exhaustive. Studies have revealed there are in excess of 100 possible complications from abortions. Up to ten percent of women who undergo abortions will develop a complication and many of those will be the result of medical negligence.

Failure and Wrongful Birth

There are some very distressing circumstances surrounding the failure of a termination of pregnancy. One such complication of an induced abortion is when the abortion fails and the pregnancy continues. This problem is more likely to occur if the termination is attempted at a very early stage of the pregnancy. The mother must then make a decision whether to continue the pregnancy to term or submit to another surgical abortion. In these cases an abortion medical negligence solicitor should always be consulted.

A second type of failed abortion occurs at a later stage of the pregnancy when the baby is delivered alive. It is not generally known what always happens in these cases. Questions arise whether the baby later dies from prematurity or from injuries during the procurement of the abortion.

Other forms of failed abortion would include the 'incomplete abortion'. This generally involves the perseverance of a nonviable gestational sac. This often results in persistent bleeding, abdominal pain and infection. Generally, this extremely painful condition will require further medication and/or surgical intervention to repair the problem.

In order to avoid most of these situations, all women who undergo an abortion procedure, regardless of the reasons or circumstances, should be fully checked within two weeks in order to confirm that the abortion is complete and no further problems exist.

Perforation of Uterus or Damage to Other Organs

A serious complication of mechanically induced abortion is perforation of the uterus and damage to the bladder and other organs in the area. In a properly controlled medical facility with trained clinicians, this should never happen. However, it does unfortunately often occur when the termination of pregnancy is carried out by unskilled or inexperienced personnel.

There are circumstances where follow up surgery fails because the uterus is not able to heal properly and constant bleeding continues long after the initial abortion is completed. Ultimately, a hysterectomy is the only way this bleeding can be resolved. Heavy bleeding also puts the woman's life at risk. In addition, the likelihood of severe infection is also very high.

Other organs which can be affected as a result of medical negligence during an abortion performed under uncontrolled conditions include:

    Bladder damage: The bladder is perforated (often along with the uterus). The result is inflammation followed by infection and, if not surgically repaired as soon as possible, peritonitis (infected abdominal lining) can ensue and, if still not treated, death will occur.

    Bowel injury: Again, if the uterus is perforated, the intestines are just as vulnerable. Signs that this has occurred will begin with an unsettled stomach and nausea, progressing to severe abdominal pain, high temperature and passing blood in the stools. If there is no surgical intervention to remove the damaged part of the intestine at this stage, peritonitis and death inevitably follow.

    Cervical lacerations: Even in the most controlled circumstances, a small number of abortions result in cervical lacerations. These micro fractures, or lesser lacerations as they are medically referred to, can cause permanent damage to the reproductive ability of the woman. The highest risk category for cervical lacerations is teenage women who have not yet fully developed.

Loss of Future Childbearing Capacity

If, as happens in some cases, an infection sets in following an abortion, this can lead to acute illness and may be very difficult to remedy.

Repeated uterine infection will sometimes develop into a chronic condition known as PID or pelvic inflammatory disease. This condition affects not only the pelvic area, but the fallopian tubes as well, and causes them to become narrow or blocked. It is then very common for the woman to be unable to conceive again.

Often the only treatment is for the woman to undergo a hysterectomy, thereby rendering her incapable of further pregnancies.


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The author of the substantive medical writing on this website is Dr. Christine Traxler MD whose biography can be read here