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Negligent Episiotomy Repairs

If you have suffered a negligent episiotomy repair, you need to contact a medical negligence solicitor as soon as possible, as you could be entitled to claim compensation for the substandard level of medical care you received.

Repairing an episiotomy

During a vaginal birth, medical professionals may decide to perform something called an 'episiotomy'. This is when the perineum is deliberately cut in order to widen the vulval outlet, thereby aiding delivery. This may be considered necessary if:-

  • It is a breech birth;
  • The baby's shoulder gets stuck;
  • The woman is suffering exhaustion or other complications;
  • The baby is displaying signs of distress.

After the baby has been successfully delivered, it is essential that medical professionals take steps to repair the episiotomy cut. This should involve providing adequate pain relief to the new mother before placing her in a comfortable position. A vaginal and rectal examination should then be performed by way of routine, as this is the only way to identify just how much damage has been sustained. If a medical professional is certain a third or fourth degree tear has not occurred, an episiotomy cut can then be sutured together with dissolvable stitches. However, if a third or fourth degree tear is diagnosed, an experienced obstetrician should be consulted, as it will be necessary to carry out a more extensive repair in theatre.

After the repair, a woman will continue to suffer a degree of discomfort for the following month or so. Symptoms can be alleviated with painkillers and the application of ice packs, while recovery will also be aided by maintained good hygiene and pelvic floor exercises. In time, the wound will heal and a woman should regain normal function.

Negligent episiotomy repairs

Nevertheless, there are unfortunately occasions when a new mother does not recover from her episiotomy, but instead goes on to develop complications such as long-term pain, sexual dysfunction, urinary problems and faecal and/or flatus incontinence. This will cause obvious distress for the woman concerned whose quality of life will be adversely affected. Indeed, she may feel unable to resume normal activities, return to work or have sex with her partner.

If complications do continue, they could well be attributed to a negligently repaired episiotomy. This will often arise in one of two ways:-

1. If the midwife who carried out the repair did not display the necessary skills and expertise, this will amount to negligent. For example, the midwife may have inserted too many stitches, causing the labia to fuse together.

2. If the medical professional who carried out the routine vaginal and rectal examination did not diagnose a perineal tear, therefore leaving it unrepaired, this will amount to negligence.

Claiming for a negligent episiotomy repair

If you believe you have suffered complications as a direct result of a negligently repaired episiotomy, you could be entitled to compensation for the pain and suffering you have been caused. To find out more, you should speak to a medical negligence solicitor without delay.

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