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Successful Claim for Incontinence Following Negligent Vaginal Births

Successful Claim for Incontinence Following Negligent Vaginal Births

Helen successfully gave birth to her first child with a vaginal birth, following which, she was diagnosed with a 2nd degree tear. However, despite evidence of injury, and contrary to accepted practice, Helen did not undergo a rectal examination and so any possible further damage remained undiagnosed.

Helen's 2nd degree tear was partially repaired by her midwife in that the skin was sutured. However, the damaged muscle was not repaired as it should have been meaning that another opportunity to identify further injury was missed.

Three years later, after another successful vaginal birth, the midwife examined Helen's perineum. Helen had been extremely worried that she might suffer another tear and asked the midwife if there was any sign of injury. The midwife reassured her that she was fine. However, yet again no rectal examination appears to have been carried out.

Unfortunately, shortly after the birth, Helen began to experience problems with her bowels, having to rush to the toilet whenever she needed to open her bowels. At first she did not worry about this, assuming that it was normal following a second vaginal birth. Soon, however, she began to suffer episodes of incontinence. This led her to become increasingly reluctant to leave the house for fear of incontinence. As a result, she started to become socially isolated and limited her outdoor trips with her children.

Helen tried exercises to improve her bowel control and waited in the hope that her symptoms would improve but eventually visited her GP to express her concerns.

The GP referred Helen to a gynaecologist who sent her to a colorectal surgeon. Following a thorough examination and an ultrasound scan, it became clear that, in fact, Helen had injuries to both her internal and external sphincter muscles, meaning that, at some point, either during her first or her second vaginal delivery, Helen had sustained a third degree tear. Because her injury had not been diagnosed, she had not received any repair and was now suffering extremely distressing and debilitating symptoms as a result.

It was eventually decided that Helen should have surgery to try to repair her anal sphincter injuries. Unfortunately, this proved to be only partly successful and Helen continues to suffer problems with bowel control.

Her working life, social life and home life have all been affected negatively by the failure to diagnose her birth tear accurately and ensure a full and competent repair was carried out.

Helen approached Glynns Solicitors for support in making a claim against the hospital responsible for her on-going bowel problems. Her claim was highly-successful and she has been awarded compensation in excess of £150,000.

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

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