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Misdiagnosed perineal tear leads to £380,000 award
A woman’s fourth degree vaginal tear was diagnosed as third degree, leading to mistakes in treating the injury after the birth.
A common form of birth injury is a perineal tear – an injury to the soft tissue separating the vagina from the end of the bowel. Modern medicine is able to repair birth injuries like these – however in order to do so, the tear needs to be diagnosed correctly.
If perineal tears aren’t treated properly, they can have life-changing impact on women. They can lead to various medical problems, including incontinence mobility problems, loss of sexual enjoyment and complications in future child births.
This is why misdiagnosis of a perineal tear can be so severe. Medical negligence solicitor Claire Hurrell recently helped a woman reach a financial settlement and hold her hospital to account over the misdiagnosis of a perineal tear.
Her client was kindly willing to let us share her story to help inform others who may have gone through similar injuries after childbirth.
Case study – misdiagnosed perineal tear settlement
Our client came to us for help after suffering a fourth degree perineal tear and rectovaginal fistula during the birth of her baby.
She was admitted to the hospital in labour, and delivered her baby naturally. During the birth she suffered a perineal tear which was diagnosed as being less serious than it actually was, and as a consequence was not properly repaired.
In fact, our client’s injuries at the time of their delivery were much more serious than diagnosed and she suffered from incontinence and damage to her emotional and psychological wellbeing as a result.
Although our client was referred to see a specialist and subsequently underwent surgery, the damage she endured could not be properly rectified as it would have been had she been treated properly following the birth.
The incident and the resulting effects on our client’s health have severely damaged her professional confidence and her ability to pursue her career in the way she could have done otherwise. Long-term, the injuries she suffered are likely to create further complications for her later in life.
We worked with our client as sensitively as possible to assess the impact of her injuries. We approached independent experts to help assess her injuries and prognosis.
Once we had investigated her situation thoroughly, we issued the claim and the hospital accepted responsibility. We then measured the impact of our client’s injuries on her life and career and negotiated a settlement.
In total, we were able to win £380,000 compensation for our client. Whilst neither this nor any amount of money can make up for the pain and suffering she has experienced, it will help her as she rebuilds her life.
We also hope that by highlighting the failures in her treatment, similar mistakes will be less likely to happen in the hospital where she gave birth.