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Claiming Compensation for Bowel Damage in Childbirth

Claiming Compensation for Bowel Damage in Childbirth

Suffering an injury to the anal muscles which control the bowel during vaginal childbirth is not necessarily negligent. It may not be appropriate to make a claim for compensation unless the diagnosis and care of your injury is substandard.

Perineal and anal tears

Many women experience some degree of damage to the perineum or the bowel muscles during vaginal childbirth. It is a known risk. For most women, this is a small tear but, for around 5% of women, this injury can extend as far as the anus and damage the muscles which prevent and control the passing of wind and faeces. It should be identified, diagnosed and effectively repaired shortly after the birth in order to help the new mother make a full recovery.

However, if the injury is not diagnosed or repaired, then it may be a case of medical negligence and it may be possible to make a claim for compensation.

Claiming compensation

Claiming compensation requires that two things be demonstrated:

  • It must be demonstrated that medical professionals provided substandard care in some way, for example, by failing to carry out an examination of the woman's perineum after the birth or in misdiagnosing her injury
  • Secondly, it must be shown that the symptoms and problems which the new mother is experiencing are a result of that initial negligence. If the new mother would have suffered symptoms regardless of the negligence, then it might not be appropriate to make a compensation claim.

Diagnosing severe birth tears

Diagnosing perineal or anal damage after vaginal childbirth requires a thorough examination and a precise and accurate recording of any damage. This means that any injury should be recorded according to the classification of The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists as a 1st, 2nd, 3rd or 4th degree tear. If a thorough examination does not occur, then severe damage may be missed completely. If the assessment is incompetent, the woman may receive a misdiagnosis, meaning that she may not receive adequate treatment in the form of a skilled repair.

It is also possible that, despite an accurate diagnosis, the surgical repair is inadequate, leaving the woman with significant on-going symptoms. This might also be regarded negligent.

Speak to a specialist solicitor

If you are struggling with the appalling bowel problems associated with a severe birth tear due to failings on the part of medical professionals, ring Glynns Solicitors to discuss the possibility of a compensation claim.

We are a specialist medical negligence legal practice and one of our team will be happy to discuss your situation with you.

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

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