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Compensation for Long-term Incontinence due to Poor Maternity Care

Compensation for Long-term Incontinence due to Poor Maternity Care

If a severe perineal tear is diagnosed and repaired shortly after a new mother has given birth, it is likely that she will make a good recovery and retain her bowel control. If her injury is misdiagnosed, however, she may experience long-term and worsening bowel problems.

Severe birth tears

Approximately 5% of women who give birth through the vagina suffer a severe birth tear. By this phrase, we mean a tear to the perineum and anal muscles which give a woman control of her bowel.

A 3rd degree tear will damage the skin and muscle of the perineum, the region between the vagina and the anus, as well as causing damage to the anal muscles themselves. Depending on the precise degree of damage, this may affect only the external anal muscle or sphincter, or it may damage both external and internal muscles which prevent the involuntary passing of wind and faeces.

If she is particularly unfortunate, the new mother may suffer a 4th degree tear which additionally damages the internal lining of the anus and risks the development of a fistula or passage between the rectum and the vagina, thereby allowing the leakage of wind and faeces from the vagina.

Medical negligence

This is not the outcome a new mother is expecting when anticipating the birth of her baby and it is particularly hard when better quality medical care could have prevented such an appalling outcome.

A delay in diagnosing a severe 3rd or 4th degree birth tear can reduce the likelihood that the woman will recover effective bowel control. As time passes, it can become harder to repair her injury and her symptoms may remain with her for the rest of her life.

In our experience, it is not uncommon for the perineal damage to be diagnosed from a visual assessment but the more severe damage to the anal muscles is not identified because a digital rectal examination has not been carried out.

Such poor-quality care may be regarded as negligent and may justify a claim for compensation for the impact which the woman's bowel symptoms have had on her life.

Speak to a solicitor

If you are struggling with the appalling symptoms of an unrepaired severe birth tear, you will need the advice and support of a specialist medical negligence solicitor in order to navigate the complexities of a compensation claim.

Contact Glynns Solicitors, experts in medical negligence compensation claims, and one of our team of expert lawyers will be very happy to talk to you.

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

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