Case Study: Mother damaged by forceps delivery

Compensation: £80,000

Rita, London

This case study outlines how we helped a woman to claim an £80,000 settlement after she suffered a perineal tear during forceps delivery.

If you are looking for information on how JMW can help you to make a claim yourself you can go directly to our obstetrics and gynaecology negligence claims page here, and if you are looking for information on forceps delivery please visit the NHS website here.

Rita was 38 when she became pregnant for the first time. She had had fibroids removed 10 years previously, which had resulted in difficulties with conceiving. Because of the previous surgery it was decided that the baby should be delivered by caesarean section at or near term, but at 33 weeks Rita’s membranes ruptured and she was admitted to hospital.

Drugs to slow down labour were given but despite this the labour progressed and the decision was taken to proceed to a vaginal delivery as long as there was no fetal distress or pain in the abdominal scar. For some reason a caesarean section was not considered at this stage, despite the original plan.

Decision taken to deliver by forceps

Rita was given an epidural and after eight hours in labour the cervix was fully dilated and the baby’s head was advancing well, but for reasons not fully explained a decision was taken to deliver the baby by forceps. This was undertaken by a relatively inexperienced doctor and resulted in a 4th degree perineal tear, although the baby was unharmed. If the intervention had not occurred it is highly likely that Rita would have had a normal vaginal delivery with little or no damage to the perineum.

The tear was repaired in theatre and eventually healed reasonably well but due to the damage to the anal sphincters Rita now suffers urgency of defecation and soiling and incontinence issues. She is acutely embarrassed about this and avoids socialising and going out and has consequently become isolated, depressed and anxious. Also, because of the damage to the perineal and vaginal area she can no longer enjoy a full sex life.  Her pelvic floor function is also likely to deteriorate in the future.

Liability admitted in full

It was admitted by the hospital that, in hindsight, “an alternative management plan would have been to allow the labour to continue without intervention” and liability was admitted in full. Following negotiations a settlement of £80,000 was achieved by one of Steven Brown, one of JMW’s expert solicitors.

Get in touch

If you or someone you know has suffered in a similar way, give us a call to discuss the situation and to see whether you could be entitled to compensation. Ring us today on 0800 054 6512, or complete our online enquiry form and a member of our friendly team will get in touch with you. 

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