Contraceptive Failure - Medical Negligence Lawyers

Contraception is a broad term for medications and devices that help prevent pregnancy. Contraceptive devices and medications can be as simple as a condom or as complex as an intrauterine device or surgical contraception by means of a tubal ligation or vasectomy. All forms of contraception carry some risk and each has a definable failure rate. In certain circumstances it is possible to take solicitors legal action for medical negligence and to claim compensation for personal injury and loss against a healthcare practitioner in the event of failure of contraception if that failure is due to error. The most common solicitors legal actions for failure of contraception include compensation claims for :-

  • oral contraception side effects
  • unwanted pregnancy
  • perforation of body tissue by intra-uterine devices
  • injectable hormone contraceptive complications

Medical Negligence Solicitors

Our gynaecology negligence solicitors deal with personal injury compensation claims for failure of contraception arising due to medical negligence by a healthcare practitioner. Our solicitors deal with claims using the no win no fee scheme. For advice at no cost and with no further obligation on contraceptive failure medical negligence compensation claims just email our lawyers offices or complete the contact form or call our solicitors helpline.

If you have been injured by a healthcare professional including a doctor, dentist, nurse or technician and would like to speak to a medical negligence lawyer without further obligation, just use the helpline. A contraceptive failure medical negligence lawyer who deals exclusively in personal injury claims will speak to you, giving free advice and information on how best to preserve your legal right to receive compensation as a result of injuries caused by medical negligence.

Our contraceptive failure medical negligence lawyers have offices situated in Adelaide, Brisbane, Canberra, Melbourne, Perth, Darwin, and Sydney.
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Hormonal Methods of Contraception

These involve the use of pills or injections or intra-vaginal devices that contain oestrogen-like compounds, progesterone-type compounds or a combination of both. The different choices of contraception are as follows.

The injectable progesterone contraceptive is called Depo-Provera and it works by preventing implantation of any embryo and prevents egg production. It is safe for those who have diabetes or who have high blood pressure and it is injected every three months. The progesterone implant is implanted beneath the skin and lasts a total of five years. The disadvantages of this form of birth control include weight gain, irregular cycles or intermittent bleeding and nausea. It can take up to two years for fertility to return after this form of birth control is stopped. The effectiveness of the injection is about 99.7 percent and effectiveness of the implant is about 99.9 percent.

The combination birth control is perhaps the most popular form of birth control, especially in young people. It contains oestrogen and a progesterone that together prevent the formation of an egg. Ovulation is blocked and the period a woman has every month with the pill is basically a withdrawal bleed and not a real period. The advantages of the combined pill are that it is preventative against uterine cancer or ovarian cancer. Osteoporosis is prevented as well. PMS is reduced and periods are more regulated with the pill. It doesn’t have any long term side effects and can be started as soon as 6 weeks following the birth of an infant. The disadvantages are that it can cause life-threatening thrombosis (blood clots), headaches, water retention, weight gain, nausea and depression. It is not recommended if you are a smoker over 35 year of age because the thrombosis side effect is augmented. The effectiveness is up to 97 percent.

The “mini pill” is a progesterone-only pill that thickens the cervical mucus so that sperm cannot pass through. It is a good pill for those who are already overweight, are a smoker, have high blood pressure, are over age 40 or are breastfeeding an infant. It is ultimately very necessary to take it the same time every day because it might fail if you don’t. It can be used in breastfeeding with only a small risk to the infant. It carries an effectiveness of about 95 percent when taken properly.

The NuvaRing device is inserted into the vagina for three weeks and then is removed. It contains oestrogen and progesterone that act on the ovaries, preventing the release of an egg. It is inserted into the vagina much like a diaphragm and remains there the entire three weeks. The NuvaRing has all the risks of a combination birth control pill and has an effectiveness of up to 97 percent. The ring is thrown away after three weeks and a new ring is inserted in its place after the woman has had a menstrual period or withdrawal bleed.

Barrier Methods of Contraception

The condom is the most common form of barrier method. It prevents pregnancy as well as many sexually-transmitted diseases. It is easy to use and easy to get a hold of and many contain a spermicide that kills sperm. The disadvantages are that it must be put on during the sex process and has the potential to fall off or break. It can dull male sensation during sex. It has an effectiveness rate of about 86 percent.

The IUD or intrauterine device is inserted into the female uterus by a trained doctor. There are intrauterine devices of many sizes and shapes and it depends on what your doctor has available. Most current intrauterine devices are T shaped and prevents implantation of a fertilized egg. The advantages are that it can be used during breastfeeding and hormones are unaffected. It works immediately after being placed. The disadvantages are that it can embed itself into the uterus and rupture the uterus; it can cause heavy menstrual periods and prolonged menstrual cramping during periods. There is an increased risk of having pelvic inflammatory disease, especially if you have many sexual partners. Doctors check the IUD every year to make sure it is in place and functioning properly. The effectiveness is 98 percent.

The diaphragm or cervical cap is made from a rubber-like compound. It fits over the cervix and must be fitted to the right size. It is inserted folded into the vagina and expanded, with its anterior rim snugly fit by the pubic bone. Some people use a spermicidal jelly along with the diaphragm to improve its effectiveness. A woman can insert the diaphragm up to six hours before engaging in intercourse; however, it must be removed within thirty hours after intercourse has occurred or it will lose some of its effectiveness. Once inserted, it cannot be felt by either the man or the woman. Each time you use a diaphragm, you must look carefully for the presence of holes so that sperm can’t pass through the diaphragm and result in pregnancy. The major advantage is that it can be used during breastfeeding and doesn’t have to interfere with the act of sex. In some cases, it can prevent sexually transmitted diseases. Upon insertion, the bladder must be empty during the process and if you have a bladder infection, the diaphragm can be irritating. It is 80 percent effective if you use a diaphragm and 60 percent effective if you use a cervical cap.

Natural Methods of Contraception

Some people use what’s called the “rhythm method” to determine when it is safe to have sex and when one could get pregnant by having sex. It is also called “fertility awareness”. It depends on knowing the best and worst times to get pregnant and abstaining from sex during the times when pregnancy could occur. There are no side effects of this method but, with restrictions on sex, there can be tension between the partners. The success rate depends on how well you follow the rules and how regular your menstrual cycles are.

Failure to Properly Implant Contraceptive Devices

There are a couple of types of implantable birth control devices. These are devices injected under the skin that release female hormones for the sole purpose of preventing pregnancy.

The implanted device is in the form of a rod that is only the size of a matchstick. The rod contains etonogestrel, which is a type of progesterone. It inhibits ovulation and prevents implantation of the zygote.

The implant is injected as follows. The skin is injected and the provider inserts the small rod just under the skin of the upper arm using a special device that injects the rod through a thick needle. It often takes less than a minute to do the entire procedure and, following the procedure, the individual can feel the rod under the skin but it won't hurt. It will not be visible beneath the skin.

The birth control device lasts up to three years before it needs replacing. Removing the device involves numbing the skin and making a tiny incision just in front of the rod. The rod is then grasped and removed.

These types of birth control techniques have both benefits and drawbacks. The major benefit is its success rate with about 1 out of a thousand women becoming pregnant per year. It involves nothing to do as opposed to shots, the nuva-ring, condoms, patches and pills. You simply have the device replaced every three years and your inability to get pregnant is assured.

When you want to get pregnant again, you are fertile as soon as you remove the rod. It also prevents you from having painful periods, which tend to be lighter in nature.

One of the negative aspects of the implantable birth control device is that it is very costly. There is also a lack of protection against STDs as is seen in condoms, which can protect against HIV and other STDs.

The major side effects of inserting the procedure include having excessive pain, swelling of the affected area and bruising near the insertion site. There can be redness, scarring and infection.

The healthcare provider might insert the rod too deeply under the skin, which can cause numbness and problems later removing the rod. The Nexplanon device lessens this risk.

Additional side effects that can happen while using this device are depression, irregular cycles, weight gain, acne, nausea, abdominal pain, breast pain, vaginitis, back pain and dizziness.

It is the role of the doctor doing such a procedure to do a proper examination to rule out contraindications to the procedure. The patient must have no history or present history of breast cancer and must not be pregnant. Abnormal vaginal bleeding must be identified as to cause and there must be no sensitivity to the rod. Liver disease, liver tumors or history of blood clots must be assessed before inserting the implantable birth control.

Doctors must also caution the patient to beware when using the implantable birth control if they have diabetes, seizures, depression or high cholesterol. Studies have not been done on obese women who might not have the same effectiveness with this birth control method. There are medications that can interfere with this form of birth control so that it won't work as effectively.

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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