Case study: negligently repaired third-degree perineal tear leads to continence issues

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Our medical negligence solicitors helped a first-time mother to claim compensation after her perineal tear was misdiagnosed and she was left with continence issues.

Misdiagnosis of perineal tear after delivery by forceps

Our client, Miss K, was under the care of a London hospital for the delivery of her first baby. She experienced a long labour and eventually had to try an instrumental delivery. Her baby was delivered by forceps but she suffered a perineal tear, an injury to the area between the vaginal opening and anus.

The tear was repaired but unfortunately, our client began to experience symptoms including:

  • Increased frequency of defaecation (needing to pass stools)
  • Faecal urgency (having very little notice of passing stools)
  • Trouble cleaning after defaecation
  • Incontinence of wind
  • Perianal pain

Our client also developed an adjustment disorder (a psychological reaction to a stressful event) because of her symptoms. Her symptoms impacted her ability to work and care for her child.

Investigations showed that the extent of our client’s perineal tear had been misdiagnosed at the time of repair. The tear was diagnosed as 3a but was in fact 3c, meaning that the repair left a significant defect in our client’s anal sphincter which was causing her symptoms.

Starting a medical negligence case against the hospital

When Miss K became aware of the misdiagnosis, she contacted our Medical Negligence team for advice on starting a claim against the hospital. Our solicitors obtained her complete medical records and independent expert evidence commenting on the standard of care provided to our client. Our experts confirmed that her misdiagnosis was negligent and that, had her tear been repaired correctly, she would have had normal continence.

Our medical negligence lawyers put their allegations of negligence to the Defendant. They denied liability for our client’s injuries and so we formally commenced court proceedings. Shortly afterwards, we were able to negotiate a significant out-of-court settlement for our client to compensate her for her pain, loss of earnings, additional childcare costs and treatment costs.

Further information

If you have suffered as the result of a misdiagnosis or you have experienced a birth injury caused by negligence, our specialist team can help. Call our Medical Negligence team on 0117 325 2929
or fill out our online enquiry form.

As well as seeking compensation for a birth injury or trauma, there is further support out there. The MASIC Foundation is a UK charity that supports women who have suffered OASI injuries (Obstetric Anal Sphincter Injuries). Click here to find out more.


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