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Can I Sue the NHS if I'm Incontinent after a Forceps Birth?

Can I Sue the NHS if I'm Incontinent after a Forceps Birth?

Between 5% and 10% of women giving birth vaginally are thought to suffer a severe birth injury during the delivery. A severe tear, otherwise known as a third or fourth degree tear, causes damage to the anal sphincter muscles and can reduce the woman's ability to control her bowels.

Causes of severe birth tears

There are a number of factors which might increase a woman's chances of suffering a severe tear during childbirth including the following:

  • Giving birth to a large baby
  • A first vaginal birth
  • Being of Asian descent
  • Undergoing an instrumental delivery
  • The baby experiencing shoulder dystocia during the birth

Instrumental deliveries

If an instrumental delivery is considered to be necessary due to problems progressing the birth, it is important that a number of factors are in place:

  • The woman should be made aware of the risks associated with an instrumental birth
  • The woman should receive a thorough examination after the birth including a digital, rectal examination
  • Carrying out an episiotomy should be considered before the forceps delivery is attempted

If a woman undergoes a forceps delivery of her baby, it is vital that she then receives a thorough examination to check for and diagnose any anal sphincter damage after the birth. An accurate diagnosis should ensure that an effective repair is carried out by a skilled surgeon in an operating theatre.

Medical negligence

If a woman continues to suffer serious, long-term bowel problems after the birth of her child, it is quite possible that she has an unrepaired tear. If this is considered to be due to a failing on the part of her medical professionals to provide an appropriate level of care during her baby's birth, the woman might wish to consider making a claim for compensation.

The following circumstances might be considered as substandard care:

  • If the woman does not receive a thorough examination, leaving her with undiagnosed and unrepaired damage
  • If no episiotomy was carried out prior to the forceps delivery, meaning that a severe tear might have been more likely
  • If the woman had not been made aware of the risks of a forceps delivery
  • If an effective repair had not been carried out

Legal advice

If you are suffering the appalling symptoms of bowel urgency or incontinence due to substandard medical care, ring Glynns Solicitors today to discuss the suitability of making a claim for compensation.

Please call us on 0800 234 3300 (or from a mobile 01275 334030) or complete our Online Enquiry Form.

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