Scarlett underwent a repair for a 3A tear. After she suffered faecal incontinence for two years, tests revealed that she had actually sustained a 3C tear. Her ongoing problems are now unlikely to resolve.
The birth of Scarlett’s first child was a difficult one. The baby was lying back to back, but this was not recognised by medical staff when a scan was performed. She was allowed to labour on, and eventually a healthy daughter was born via a ventouse delivery.
Having lost a lot of blood, Scarlett was taken straight to theatre. After performing a rectal examination, the registrar repaired what he believed to be a 3A tear, meaning only the external anal sphincter was treated.
Scarlett was discharged the next day but soon developed a number of problems. Her stitches became infected, and she was becoming incontinent of urine and faeces.
She was referred to a physiotherapist who suggested certain exercises to improve urinary incontinence. This led to some improvement in Scarlett’s symptoms, but after six months her faecal incontinence was worse rather than better.
After being seen by another physiotherapist and a Perineal Clinic, Scarlett was referred to a colorectal surgeon. Tests were organised to see if the cause of her incontinence could be identified. It was by now two years since the birth and her symptoms remained the same.
An endoanal ultrasound and manometry tests revealed that Scarlett had, infact, suffered a 3C tear because it involved the internal anal sphincter. This had not been detected by the registrar, meaning only part of the tear was repaired.
Scarlett went on to have sacral nerve stimulation and other forms of treatment. Sadly it has not been successful and she continues to experience faecal incontinence.
Her problems are likely to continue in the long-term. This is particularly difficult for Scarlett to accept, because she knows that incontinence could have been avoided, had the registrar made an accurate diagnosis of her tear.
Had she undergone a repair for a 3C tear, it is probable that she would have made a complete recovery. The registrar should have been able recognise a 3C tear, and his failure to do so amounts to a breach of duty.
We helped Scarlett pursue a medical negligence claim for a missed 3C tear. She was awarded over £80,000 in compensation.
(Details which might identify our client have been changed.)
If you, or your family member, has suffered a birth injury tear, please call us now for free, no obligation advice on 0800 234 3300 (or from a mobile click to call 01275 334030) or complete our Free Online Enquiry.