Sharon McManus lost her newborn in a devastating accident at Wagga Wagga hospital back in 2010. While the pain still feels raw and relentless, yesterday McManus was awarded nearly $1.8 million in damages.
The NSW woman suffered severe gastroenteritis during her pregnancy, which landed her in hospital for three weeks in April 2010. The day after her release, she returned for tests where the doctors decided to schedule an emergency C-section for that afternoon.
McManus's next memory is waking up and being told her son "didn't make it".
The tragic news saw her spiral into a harrowing depression, experiencing post-traumatic stress disorder and a “perpetual feeling of fear and horror”. The grieving mother become an alcoholic, suffered insomnia and was admitted to hospital for psychiatric care.
McManus and her husband took the Murrumbidgee Local Area Health Network to court for medical negligence; the network admitted liability.
In court, Justice Ian Gordon Harrison ruled that the baby's death could have been avoided if the caesarean had been performed earlier. He said hospital staff failed to monitor McManus's antenatal period and labour properly, and that the trauma she endured would gravely affect her present and future.
“Her post-traumatic stress disorder and depressed and anxious state render her disabled on an ongoing and unrelenting basis from enjoying or participating in a wide range of fundamental activities of daily life,” he said. “This situation is likely in my view to continue for the whole of Ms McManus’s life, with little real or tangible prospect of improvement.”