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Case Study: Negligent Treatment of a Perineal Tear
Sandra, 29 years old, Manchester
This case study outlines how JMW helped Sandra to secure £27,000 after she suffered a perineal tear that was subsequently sutured incorrectly.
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 perineal tears in general please visit the NHS website here.
Sandra had an uneventful pregnancy and an apparently normal vaginal delivery of her first child. The baby was of average size and, although an episiotomy was not considered necessary, unfortunately Sandra sustained a severe second degree perineal tear, thought at first to be a third degree tear.
Hospital policy not followed
The accepted practice for repair of such a tear is that it should be undertaken in theatre as a matter of urgency. Sandra waited for two and a half hours before a junior doctor made an attempt to repair the tear on the ward, contrary to hospital policy (at this stage it was still thought to be a third degree tear).
This attempt failed and Sandra was transferred to theatre five hours after delivery, where a second attempt at a repair was carried out by the same doctor. The repair was incompetently performed and because the torn vaginal and perineal tissues were not correctly aligned before stitching, Sandra developed distorted, scarred and painful perineal tissue.
Six months after the injury was sustained, an extensive refashioning was undertaken, which improved things considerably and Sandra was able to recommence normal sexual relations with her husband. However, the perineal area remained sensitive and uncomfortable and Sandra continued to be distressed and embarrassed by its appearance.
She has developed vaginismus (spasm of the vaginal muscle) and her enjoyment of sexual activity has been severely affected. She has also been advised that her next baby will have to be delivered by caesarean section.
JMW Solicitors claimed that Sandra’s perineal tear was sutured inexpertly and negligently. It was claimed that with the correct standard of care, Sandra would have made a good recovery with only minimal scarring.
The hospital denied liability (negligence) and the case was due to go to trial. However, shortly before trial the case was settled and Sandra received £27,000 compensation.