Mom left brain-damaged from stroke caused by infection she allegedly caught after giving birth

A new mom was left brain damaged after suffering a stroke caused by an infection she reportedly caught at hospital following the birth of her daughter.

Sarah Haywood, 44, collapsed just days after doctors discharged her with new daughter Mila, even though she was suffering symptoms of an infection.

On October 3, 2010, Haywood was rushed back into hospital and doctors discovered she had suffered a stroke which left her brain damaged.

Haywood, of Baddeley Green, Stoke-on-Trent, has spent the last seven years battling University Hospital North Staffordshire NHS Trust claiming they were negligent in her care.

Medical negligence lawyers Irwin Mitchell, who acted on her behalf, have revealed the NHS Trust was liable for causing her stroke following a trial in December 2016.

She has received an interim payment to help fund part of her rehabilitation but the case is ongoing and she has not received an offer of settlement.

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Haywood said she still suffers with strength and mobility problems down the right side of her body and has difficulties with her speech, memory and coordination.

Haywood, who lives with her partner Mirko Budimir, 44, and their daughter Mila, now 7, has been unable to return to her job as a manager of a clothes shop.

“The effects of my stroke have a huge impact on my life," she said. "Even things like dressing myself, brushing my teeth or making myself a hot drink are a problem now. Sometimes when Mila wants to do something, I can’t do it with her and I feel broken inside."

“Whenever we want to do something as a family we have to think ahead and look at how practical it will be," she said. “I try to keep upbeat and do my absolute best to get on with life the best I can. Mirko helps me more than I could ever ask or hope for; he has been amazing.”

Investigations revealed Haywood contracted an infection which triggered a huge stroke after having an emergency caesarean section birth at the hospital on September 17, 2010.

She was transferred to a ward following the c-section, which was deemed to be straight forward, without complications.

But on the evening of September 17, regular monitoring showed she had a high temperature and an increasing heart rate – a tell-tale symptom for having an infection.

Her heart rate continued to increase the following day but when it started to fall she was discharged on September 19, and told her high pulse would continue to settle.

On September 22 she went to her doctor complaining of feeling unwell and was prescribed antibiotics, as the incision which was made during the c-section had become infected.

She visited hospital three days later to have her wound drained and again on September 28 for a consultation.

On the morning of October 3, she suffered a stroke at home and was rushed back to hospital.

A judge agreed that if the hospital had fully investigated Haywood’s high heart rate, staff would have considered she had contracted an infection and received antibiotics which would have avoided the resulting stroke.

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Almost eight years after suffering her stroke, Haywood said she still struggles with everyday activities.

“I am trying to move forward but it’s hard to get over the fact that a failure to take a few reasonable steps has caused so much damage and turned my life upside down," she said. “I try to keep upbeat and do my absolute best to get on with my life. Mila is my savior and my whole world revolves around making the most of life with her and Mirko.”

“Sarah was badly let down in the standard of care she received, which meant she experienced a life-changing moment for all the wrong reasons," Jenna Harris, a specialist medical negligence lawyer at Irwin Mitchell, said. “It is important that there is not a loss of confidence in the NHS but it is also important that the NHS Trusts learns lessons from the care it provided Sarah so no other families don’t have to suffer the years of hurt that Sarah and Mirko have."

“We also call on the Trust to accept responsibility for its mistakes," Harris said. "Despite strong evidence presented against it, the Trust tried to fight this case. Eighteen months from a Judge ruling Sarah’s care was negligent, the case is still ongoing.”