Oral contraceptives have long been associated with raising the risk of blood clots, but for one of our most recent clients Jess Seaton, being prescribed this method of birth control at 15 led to her suffering life-changing conditions for which she was awarded over £1million in compensation.
(updated February 2022)
When Jess approached Caroline Moore, she had had her case rejected by various solicitors due to limitation/time issues. Because she was a minor at the time of injury, the three-year time limit started when she turned 18, meaning she had until her 21st birthday to make a claim; she approached us a week after her 21st birthday. However, we felt that this young woman had a strong case and needed our help to receive justice for her permanent injuries.
Jess Seaton's story:
In 2012 aged 15, Jess had been wrongly prescribed the combined contraceptive pill by a GP practice nurse despite a family history of vascular disease. Eight months later she suffered a large deep vein thrombosis (DVT) in her left leg for which she underwent very painful invasive clot-removal surgery and vein stenting.
She was left with chronic leg pain and swelling (post thrombotic syndrome) needing the use of a crutch to walk. Owing to the trauma of the treatment she had endured she was left with PTSD. She was registered disabled and, although she had bravely tried to work, she had been unable to cope with the physical and psychological pressures of work.
One of the main issues was that the nurse completely denied claims that Jess' family history had been divulged at a consultation that both she and her own mother had attended. Her mother accompanied her to the appointment to inform them of her own history of blood clotting disorders.
Despite these concerns, the nurse assured Jess that her blood pressure would be routinely monitored and that she would be fine.
"Because of my age they were more concerned about underage pregnancies than my safety," Jess says.
In October that year, Jess, who lives on the Isle of Wight, attended A&E with severe leg pain and swelling. Her leg was purple, mottled and hot to touch. Here, she was diagnosed with a huge blood clot that ran from her ankle to belly button, with doctors remarking they had never seen such a big clot in a young person.
Jess underwent emergency surgery to remove the clot at Southampton Hospital. But due to staffing issues, she couldnt be put to sleep, the harrowing experience of which has led to her sufferering PTSD, flashbacks, anxiety and depression.
"We got told the anaesthetist would not be able to come for two weeks and if we waited then I would die. I was awake the whole time and felt everything. They were pulling veins out and I was getting more and more worked up so my oxygen leveles went down. I was screaming and crying asking them to stop."
Having lost out on her teenage years, Jess, now 25 and a mum-of-two, approached Caroline Moore just after her 21st birthday to support her clinical negligence claim.
Court proceedings had to be issued and the case settled six months before a trial on liability. The compensation accounted for past and future loss of earnings and expenses such as childcare costs as well as pain, injury and suffering. On top of this figure, the Defendants’ insurers repaid benefits to the DWP that our client had received as a result of her injury.
My client was happily expecting her second child at the date of settlement and she was due to deliver her child one month after the date for the liability trial. Quite understandably she wished to achieve a settlement without having to go through that process. Trials can be risky business. Had we succeeded at the liability trial, my client would have achieved an even higher settlement figure. However, this settlement has changed her life and that of her family dramatically. She was delighted with her award and I am delighted for her!Caroline Moore
Now, ten years after her injury, Jess is planning to start a campaign to ensure all patients are given a blood test by the NHS before being prescribed contraception.
You can read Jess' full story in The Independent here