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Birth Injury Case Studies

3c Tear Missed By Midwife

Becca was not properly examined by her midwife after giving birth. She subsequently developed faecal urgency and passed uncontrollable wind from her vagina. She was later found to have an unrepaired 3c tear.

When Becca gave birth to her second child, she had a very fast delivery and was concerned that she might have torn. After a brief examination the midwife said there was only a first degree tear and was so small it did not warrant a stitch.

This was Becca's first vaginal delivery as her first child had been born by way of Caesarean section. She was experiencing a lot of pain after the birth but assumed this was normal so did not complain. She was discharged from hospital the same day.

A community midwife paid a visit the following morning. As Becca had not had any stitches, she was told that she did not need to be examined.

Around this time, Becca began to notice that she was passing wind from her vagina. She also had poor control over both her bladder and her bowels, meaning she had to remain close to a toilet at all times.

However, she did not seek medical help because her new born daughter was taken ill. She therefore put her own issues aside to care for her child. Furthermore, Becca was incredibly embarrassed by her symptoms and avoided discussing them with anyone, including her husband.

Sadly the discomfort, faecal urgency and incontinence of wind became too much. She realised something must be wrong and, two years after giving birth, made an appointment to see her GP.

The GP asked Becca if she was sure the wind was coming from her vagina. When she confirmed it was, she was referred to hospital. There she was examined and diagnosed with a missed third degree tear.

After further tests, it was found that the internal anal sphincter was disrupted, as was the external anal sphincter. This represents a 3c tear at least. Becca was told she would need further treatment in an attempt to alleviate her symptoms.

Becca's on-going symptoms have created significant difficulties both at work and when socialising as she cannot go far from a toilet, just in case she suffers an accident. She must also have any future children by elective Caesarean section, such is the damage that she sustained.

Becca's 3rd degree tear should have been diagnosed by the midwife and arrangements made for a primary repair to be performed in an operating theatre by a surgeon. The midwife failed to make a diagnosis because a thorough examination was not carried out after the birth. This represents a substandard level of medical care.

We helped Becca pursue a claim for the medical negligence she experienced. She was awarded in excess of £75,000.

(Details which might identify our client have been changed.)

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"Before we contacted you we had no real idea that we had grounds for a medical negligence claim but after speaking to you if became clear that Wendy was indeed treated poorly. Chris took the time to explain what was happening and kept us to speed. Our deepest gratitude to you all and Chris in particular."

"I would like to say a big thank you to you for making this whole process easy and relatively painless. You kept me informed throughout and you were always polite and courteous in all forms of communication. I would not hesitate to recommend you to friends and family, so a really big thank you and I wish you all the best in the future."

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