Inadequate examination leads to mismanaged Perineal Tear

Kay, 33 years old, Lancaster, £25,000

JMW has succeeded in helping a woman obtain £25,000 compensation following an inadequate examination whilst in hospital led to a perineal tear for the victim.

Kay was admitted to hospital in labour with her third child. Seven years previously, when delivering her first child, she had sustained a second-degree tear. The baby was bigger than average and the labour advanced quite rapidly. The head was delivered with one push, resulting in an extensive perineal tear.

The midwife attending thought it looked like a third-degree tear, but the specialist registrar noted that the anal sphincter was intact and therefore classified it as a second degree. The tear was repaired in the delivery room using local anaesthetic and was extremely painful for Kay.

Postpartum haemorrhage

Two week later Kay was re-admitted to hospital because of a postpartum haemorrhage. She was taken to theatre where retained products were removed and the vagina and perineum examined under general anaesthetic. The third degree tear appeared to be breaking down.

Four months after the birth of her baby, Kay was seen by a consultant and it was noted that the anus and the vaginal introitus were very close together, with little or no perineal body. She had not resumed sexual intercourse and complained of faecal urgency and loss of sensation.

Kay was referred to a colo-rectal surgeon, whose opinion was that it "really must have been a third/fourth degree tear". The endo-anal scan showed an external anal sphincter defect. Kay underwent an anal sphincter repair six months after the initial injury. It was noted at the operation that there was a complete separation of the anal sphincter. The wound broke down and Kay spent two weeks in hospital having the wound packed twice daily.

After discharge, the wound continued to require daily packing for a further six months. Six months later, further corrective surgery was carried out. Kay still suffers from a degree of urgency of defaecation, and has a degree of permanent perineal deformity, but she has no pain or discomfort.

Failure to examine adequately

JMW Solicitors alleged that it was negligent of healthcare professionals to fail to carry out an adequate examination and appropriate repair of the tear (a third-degree tear would have been repaired in the operating theatre under spinal or general anaesthetic). Kay would have avoided six months of significant symptoms including pain, discomfort, faecal incontinence and faecal urgency. She would also have avoided the secondary repair.  

The claim was settled and Kay received £25,000 compensation.

Further information

If you would like further information on claims of this type, contact our specialist solicitors today. You can do this by calling for free on 0800 054 6512 or by filling in the enquiry form on this page.

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