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Compensation for Bowel Problems due to Negligent Maternity Care

Compensation for Bowel Problems due to Negligent Maternity Care

Severe and on-going bowel problems following vaginal childbirth may indicate that you have an undiagnosed or misdiagnosed anal tear.

Urgency, leakage and incontinence of wind and faeces are the occasional and shocking long-term effects of vaginal childbirth if the new mother does not receive scrupulous post-nantal care and attention.

What causes bowel problem after childbirth?

Vaginal childbirth inevitably puts pressure on the skin and muscle surrounding the vagina. If the pressure to stretch is too great, the perineum, between the vagina and the anus will tear. If the woman is extremely unlucky, this tear will extend across the perineum and cause damage to the muscles which control the anus. This is called the anal sphincter and this type of injury occurs in about 5% of vaginal childbirth cases.

The anal sphincter muscles work in combination to carry out and control the process of defecation and passing wind. If these muscles are damaged, the woman's ability to control and prevent the inadvertent passing either wind or faeces is reduced. She may suffer extreme urgency, having only moments to reach a toilet when needed. She may suffer incontinence and pass wind or faeces involuntarily.

The impact of such symptoms can be devastating, both practically and emotionally.

Medical care of severe birth tears

A woman should not have to suffer these long-term, debilitating and depressing symptoms. Although severe anal tears are a risk of vaginal childbirth, appropriate medical care should minimise the risk and promptly repair any damage should it occur.

The Care Bundle designed by The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists to reduce the occurrence and long-term impact of severe tears recommends the following measures:

  • Inform the woman about OASI and what steps can be taken to minimise the risk
  • Use of manual perineal protection during the birth, especially assisted births
  • Where necessary, carry out an episiotomy at 60 degrees
  • Carry out a perineal examination, including a digital, rectal examination following all vaginal births.

An examination of the anus by an experienced and skilled professional should ensure that severe tears damaging the anal sphincter muscles are identified and repaired.

However, a failure to correctly diagnose perineal damage following a vaginal birth can mean that the tear is not repaired, leaving the new mother to suffer life-changing symptoms.

Where this outcome is the result of poor medical care, it may be appropriate to make a claim for compensation. Severe bowel problems can limit a woman's capacity to work and earn a living. A successful compensation claim can provide recompense for the associated loss of earnings.

Speak to a solicitor

Here at Glynns, we have supported many clients who have suffered this appalling outcome in making highly-successful claims.

Contact us today to talk to a specialist solicitor with expertise in perineal trauma claims.

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

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