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Birth Injury Case Studies

In Excess Of £130,000 For Missed Third Degree Tear

Noreen suffered a 3c tear while giving birth to her first child. This was not repaired until over two months after the delivery, leaving her with ongoing faecal incontinence.

Noreen gave birth to her first child in the winter of 2010. The birth was a difficult one, as the maternity ward was very busy and she was left largely to labour on her own. Only when a shift change occurred did a midwife notice that Noreen's baby was lying sideways and was distressed.

She was quickly given an epidural and taken to theatre, where she was told an episiotomy and forceps delivery would be performed. A healthy baby girl was born shortly afterwards. Noreen was told that she had lost a large amount of blood and was taken back to the ward to recover.

Two days later she was discharged from hospital. Noreen had experienced difficulty while urinating and opening her bowels, and on one occasion had to rush to reach a toilet. She therefore asked for her episiotomy wound to be examined before leaving hospital, but this request was refused.

At home she continued to suffer problems, by now experiencing unrelenting diarrhoea. She was also unable to control the passing of wind. This caused several accidents and she regularly had to change her clothes. This was of course very distressing for Noreen, who found she had to rely on others to care for her newborn daughter.

The community midwife who visited Noreen became concerned about her bowel movements and contacted the hospital, asking if she could be seen by an incontinence specialist. Unfortunately she was told that there was a long waiting list, and protocol meant she could not be seen until six months after the birth.

Consequently Noreen decided to see a consultant on a private basis. After an examination and tests were performed, she was told that she had an unrepaired 3c tear. The specialist advised Noreen that she had anal sphincter damage, possible nerve damage, and that the episiotomy had healed incorrectly because the stitches had come out.

She was admitted to hospital on a private basis and underwent a lateral sphincterotomy. She later had two further operations under general anaesthetic as she suffered a uterus prolapse. She required a prolapse repair, bladder support and the excision of septum of the vagina.

Despite this treatment, Noreen continues to experience symptoms and required a significant amount of time off work. Although she has now returned to work, this is not without some difficulty due to her on-going symptoms.

These complications could have been avoided, or at least greatly reduced, had Noreen's third degree tear been diagnosed and repaired immediately after the delivery. We helped her make a claim for her damages. She was awarded in excess of £130,000 compensation.

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

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"Before we contacted you we had no real idea that we had grounds for a medical negligence claim but after speaking to you if became clear that Wendy was indeed treated poorly. Chris took the time to explain what was happening and kept us to speed. Our deepest gratitude to you all and Chris in particular."

"I would like to say a big thank you to you for making this whole process easy and relatively painless. You kept me informed throughout and you were always polite and courteous in all forms of communication. I would not hesitate to recommend you to friends and family, so a really big thank you and I wish you all the best in the future."

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