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Compensation For Negligent Maternity Care

Compensation For Negligent Maternity Care

Poor-quality care of a woman's perineum during childbirth may be regarded as negligent and may justify a claim for compensation.

Perineal Care Bundle

The Care Bundle of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists outlines the strategies recommended to reduce the likelihood of a severe birth tear and to ensure that should such an injury occur, an accurate diagnosis and competent repair are achieved.

If adequate care of the perineum and anal sphincter is not ensured during the process of vaginal childbirth, it is quite possible that the new mother will suffer a severe injury and permanent bowel dysfunction as a result.

The recommendations of the Care Bundle include the following:

  • Advising the pregnant woman about the risk of severe perineal tears and steps that can be taken to reduce the risk
  • Protecting the perineum manually during the birth
  • Using a medio-lateral episiotomy where this is considered necessary
  • Carrying out a thorough examination, including a digital rectal examination after the birth to ensure that all and any perineal or anal damage is diagnosed

Diagnosis and repair

Severe perineal tears which damage the anal muscles are a risk of vaginal childbirth, especially for women who are giving birth for the first time, but if they are accurately diagnosed and promptly repaired, it is likely that the woman will recover her bowel function.

However, a failure to carry out a thorough examination and a failure to make an accurate diagnosis can cause a woman to suffer severe bowel problems for the rest of her life.

A misdiagnosis of perineal and anal damage can mean that a suitable repair is not carried out. An assumption that a woman has only suffered a 2nd degree tear when, in fact, she has a 3rd or 4th degree tear, will mean that the damage to her anal muscles remains unrepaired. Her bowel function will suffer as a result.

Legal advice

A claim for compensation for substandard medical care requires the guidance of a specialist in medical negligence.

Glynns Solicitors is a niche medical negligence legal practice with a team of experienced solicitors, specialising in this field.

If you or a loved one are struggling with the on-going impact of a severe birth tear due to poor-quality maternity care, contact us today.

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

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