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Can I Sue the NHS for Faecal Incontinence after Childbirth?

Can I Sue the NHS for Faecal Incontinence after Childbirth?

Many women suffer significant bowel problems following the birth of their baby. Often, they assume that this is natural and fail to mention these distressing symptoms to their medical professionals. The emotional and physical impact of these symptoms can cause loss of confidence and fear of embarrassment, leading to social isolation and depression.

Severe birth tears

Bowel problems can frequently occur after vaginal childbirth but persistent, long-term and severe problems may indicate that the woman has suffered a birth injury which has not been effectively managed by medical staff.

A severe birth tear, such as a third degree tear, damages the muscles which control the opening of the bowel. This is known as the anal sphincter and a severe tear can damage both the internal as well as the external sphincter.

As a result, the woman can lose control of both wind and faeces, meaning that she may be incontinent and suffer bowel accidents.

Medical management of a severe birth tear

For this reason, effective and prompt management of a third degree tear is absolutely vital.

  • After a woman has given birth through the vagina, it is important that she undergoes a thorough examination of her perineum including a digital, rectal examination in accordance with the guidelines of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists.
  • If any damage is identified, it must be accurately diagnosed and recorded as either a 1st, 2nd, 3a, 3b, 3c or 4th degree tear. Or buttonhole tear if this is appropriate.
  • Appropriate repair of the damage should take place as soon as possible after diagnosis. For 1st and 2nd degree tears, this may be undertaken by a midwife in the maternity suite, but 3rd and 4th degree tears are so serious that they need to be repaired by an experienced surgeon in an operating theatre.

This course of action should ensure that the woman is free of symptoms within twelve months.

Negligent care

If this does not happen, the relevant medical professionals may be considered to have provided substandard care.

If the woman suffers severe long-term symptoms as a result of her poor-quality care, it may be appropriate to make a claim for compensation.

A successful claim can provide recompense not only for the woman's pain and suffering, but for any financial losses caused by her negligent care.

Speak to a solicitor

If you are struggling with the appalling impact of a poorly-managed severe birth tear, contact Glynns to discuss your experience with a specialist medical negligence solicitor free of charge.

We have supported numerous women who have suffered this shocking outcome after childbirth and will be very happy to advise you.

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

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