What is an obstetrician and gynaecologist?
Obstetrics and gynaecology is an unusual medical speciality in that it combines aspects of both internal medicine and surgery.
Obstetrics is concerned with the care of pregnant women and their unborn children. This includes acute and chronic conditions which may complicate pregnancy and/or birth. Common procedures and interventions include assisted vaginal delivery using forceps or ventouse procedures, caesarean sections (planned or emergency), and surgical interventions following a miscarriage.
Gynaecology manages diseases specific to the female reproductive system. It encompasses endocrinology, female urology and pelvic malignancy. Common procedures and interventions include treating abnormal bleeding or polyps, surgery for gynaecological cancers and minimal access surgery, for example in endometriosis.
Obstetrician gynaecologists may also be involved with fertility treatment and prenatal testing.
Why might you need to instruct an obstetrician and gynaecologist expert witness?
As with any area of medicine things can go wrong, and often obstetrics and gynaecology expert witnesses will be instructed in cases of clinical negligence and personal injury. Expert witnesses are often instructed to provide “quantum reports” to help the court calculate compensation. An example of a case requiring evidence from an obstetric and gynaecologist expert is when infant brain damage may have been caused by a lack of oxygen or failure to monitor the mother and/or baby’s vital signs during labour.
Many examples of cases likely to require expert evidence from an obstetrician and gynaecologist can be found in The Ockenden Report, which found that failures and clinical negligence at Shrewsbury and Telford NHS Trust led to the deaths of more than 200 infants, 9 mothers, and life-changing birth injuries in many more infants. Expert evidence is often required in such cases of catastrophic birth injury to establish the extent of the injuries and the long-term prognosis of the infants and/or mother.
In the case of Crowther v the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, expert obstetric and gynaecological evidence was needed to assist the court by explaining the difficulties clinicians face when distinguishing between foetuses with necessarily fatal abnormalities, and those where significant suffering or long-term impairment may occur.
Gynaecological cases which may require an expert witness include:
- Gynaecological surgical injuries including:
- Massive bleeding following surgical procedures such as hysterectomy
- Avoidable infertility caused by gynaecological surgical procedures
- Management of female urogynaecological disorders including urinary incontinence and prolapse
- Management of chronic pelvic pain
- Laparoscopic procedures including diagnosis and management of endometriosis
Why use Expert Court Reports?
A good obstetrician and gynaecologist expert witness should come with years of clinical experience as well as specific competencies to act as an expert witness. Look for someone who has established expert witness experience. Our obstetrician and gynaecologist expert, Mr Philip Kaloo, has many years of experience both in his clinical field and as an expert witness.