Missed Diagnosis Of Vaginal Tear Following Child Birth Leads To Permanent Stoma

Missed Diagnosis Of Vaginal Tear Following Child Birth Leads To Permanent Stoma

Our medical negligence solicitors represented a client who suffered a serious bowel and sphincter injury following childbirth. 

Following the birth of her daughter in April 2011, Joanna sustained what doctors thought was a second degree midline vaginal tear, which was stitched immediately after the birth. In September 2011, she visited a gynaecology clinic for the investigation of faecal incontinence and vaginal flatus. Medical staff noted that there was an area of deficiency in her anal sphincter, referring her for further tests. 

Misdiagnosed Fourth Degree Tear

After a colonoscopy, Joanna was informed that she had a misdiagnosed borderline fourth degree tear that should have been operated on immediately after the birth. She underwent an anal sphincter repair operation in September 2012 and required skin grafting. Following the surgery, she was told that the stitching that was done post-delivery had pulled her anus and vagina together, causing further damage. 

As a direct result of the hospital’s failure to properly treat her condition, she suffered faecal incontinence and developed a recto-vaginal fistula. Despite numerous surgical procedures, she still has a fistula and a sphincter injury. To this day Joanna is still undergoing further surgery and has a permanent stoma. She is also at risk of further hernias. 

Out Of Court Settlement

The injuries have had a huge impact on her ability to work. She has been unable to hold down a job since the injuries. She requires quick and easy access to the toilet and so far employers have been unable to make reasonable adjustments to help with her injuries. 

Irwin Mitchell’s Richard Kayser investigated the case, making a claim against the responsible Trust. The hospital admitted liability and Richard was able to negotiate an out of court settlement of £217,500.  

Lifelong Debilitating Injuries

Commenting on the case, Richard said: “Unfortunately I am dealing with an increasing number of cases where a clinician has failed to appreciate the severity of a tear that the patient has suffered. Tears cannot always be prevented and the fact they have occurred does not mean that something was done wrong. However, they need to be promptly diagnosed and repaired, otherwise the patient can suffer serious lifelong debilitating injuries.  

“More needs to be done to give women access to follow up appointments and check-ups after suffering from a tear during birth. Women can go many months and even years without knowing the cause of their incontinence and receiving proper referral and treatment.

“Joanna’s injuries were life-changing and this compensation will help her pay for her future treatment as well as help with the financial burden that her and family have been placed under. Unfortunately as a result of the injuries her ability to work has been affected and she is no longer able to fulfil her dream of becoming a paramedic.”

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