A NEW mum from Bridlington has spoken of her horror after discovering a medical equipment blunder whilst she was in labour had left her with third degree burns.
Mary Pattern, 20, was undergoing an emergency caesarean section at Scarborough Hospital on Christmas Eve last year when a pair of cauterising tongs fell from a medical tray and landed on her calf - causing two large burn marks.
As Miss Pattern had received an epidural and was on morphine and gas and air during her labour, she said she did not feel a thing until days later when she returned home.
She said: “I had had an epidural so didn’t feel anything at the time and my legs were covered with a quilt. The only reason they realised something had happened was the smell of my burning flesh.
“I was obviously still a little bit out of it after the operation before a lady came and tried to tell me what had happened, but nothing went in. I was more concerned about my baby as I have suffered two miscarriages in the past. I just wanted to know that my baby was healthy.”
Mary, who works as a carer at Westbourne Lodge residential home, was rushed to surgery when midwives realised the cord was wrapped around her baby’s neck and she was not sufficiently dilated.
Thankfully, baby Tallulah Ann was born safely at 8.12pm on Christmas Eve.
Miss Pattern and her daughter remained in hospital for three days although she says her burns were never properly dressed and she was not given clear guidance on how to treat them.
Once the effects of the epidural had worn off and she was back at her home the burns started to cause Miss Pattern severe pain. She went to the Bridlington Minor Injuries Unit where she was immediately given antibiotics, as the burns had become infected.
“I was in agony and the pain lasted for months afterwards. I went to the doctors and had to have the dressings changed every other day, and eventually I did them myself,” she continued.
“I work in the care industry myself and I understand that mistakes can happen, but this was a serious mistake. I’ve still got scars and I am very, very wary of hospitals.
“I am just glad that it happened to me and not Tallulah - she wouldn’t have been able to survive something like that.”
She was later referred to the plastic surgery department at Hull & East Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust and is receiving on-going scar massage and silicone therapy to heal the wounds, although she still has two scars between one and a half and two and a half centimetres in diameter.
Miss Pattern sought legal advice from Neil Hudgell Solicitors and has now received compensation of £5,000 from what was then the Scarborough and North East Yorkshire NHS Trust - which has now merged with the York Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust.
A spokesperson for York Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We have apologised to Miss Pattern and are pleased that we have been able to reach an amicable settlement. We wish her well for the future.”
Jacqueline Fadul-Vallarino, medical negligence specialist at Neil Hudgell Solicitors, said: “This was an extremely traumatic and anxious time for my client. Whilst she thought she was safe in the care of medical professionals, an injury occurred which caused her a great deal of pain and suffering. I hope this settlement goes some way towards compensating her for what she has had to endure.”