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Birth Injury Case Studies

Midwife Fails To Diagnose Perineal Tear

After giving birth to her third child, Mia was not examined by the attending midwife. She went on to develop faecal urgency, after which it was discovered that she had a missed third degree tear.

In March 2009, Mia went into labour with her third child. She was attended by two midwives after just four hours a healthy baby girl was born without any medical intervention.

Immediately afterwards, however, Mia knew something was wrong. She was suffering agonising pain that was much more aggressive than her previous births. However, the midwives did not examine her internally. They had a quick look, but she was bleeding so heavily that they could not have possibly detected a tear.

When Mia returned to the ward, she repeatedly told nurses about the pain and excessive blood loss. Nevertheless, they simply said this was normal and did not examine her. She was discharged from hospital two days later.

Whenever the community midwife visited in the days following the birth, Mia would mention her ongoing problems. She was still losing a lot of blood blood, was always in a lot of pain and could not stand for more than five. Despite this, the midwife did not examine Mia to check if she had a tear.

Mia carried on as best she could, but around 10 days after the birth she was feeling concerned about her slow recovery. She decided to examine herself, and to her horror found that there was an extensive wound running from her vagina to her back passage.

After attending her GP, Mia was referred to a gynaecologist. While she was waiting for an appointment she developed faecal urgency. To her surprise, the gynaecologist said that after three births, she should expect the perineum to be like that. But due to the sudden onset of faecal urgency she decided to refer Mia for an endoscan.

The endoscan results showed that Mia had a third degree tear that had been sustained during the birth of her third child. The injury should have been diagnosed by the midwives after the delivery, and it would then have been repaired in theatre by a qualified surgeon.

But because the midwives failed to perform an examination, the third degree tear remained undetected and unrepaired. It was this defect that was causing Mia's problems. She later underwent a surgical repair, which led to some improvement of her symptoms.

Mia has also been unable to return to work, leading to significant financial distress.

All this could have been avoided, had the midwives carried out an examination after the birth. We helped Mia make a claim for the complications she sustained as a result of her missed third degree tear. She was awarded over £20,000 compensation.

(Details which might identify our client have been changed.)

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