Manzi v King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust [2016] EWHC 1101 (QB) (12 May 2016)

On 6 April 2011 C gave birth… C alleges that the registrar who attended her negligently failed to see on an ultrasound scan after the birth that she had failed to deliver a substantial part of the placenta. As a result, it is said, she suffered pain and, on 21 April 2011, had to have the piece of the placenta removed under a general anaesthetic following which she also suffered a distressing haemorrhage… (paragraph 1)

D accepts that a small piece of placenta may have been retained… but says that it was not substantial. What was removed on 21 April was this small piece together with blood which had clotted and accreted around it. D says, there was no negligence… Alternatively, if that was wrong, and D should have identified that a substantial piece of placenta remained in the uterus, it is not accepted that C would have agreed to undergo another operation to have it removed so soon after she had given birth when there was the possibility that even a substantial piece of retained placenta would have passed out of her without medical intervention. (paragraph 2)

The parties were agreed that a critical issue of fact was whether on 6 April the piece of placenta which was retained was no more than small or whether the piece of placenta was substantial. For these purposes, the parties agreed that I should treat ‘small’ as around 2 cm long and ‘substantial’ as about 7 cm. (paragraph 3)

The court was not able to find that “a substantial amount of placenta was retained in C’s uterus following birth”. Claim dismissed. (paragraph 64)