If you have been left with a colostomy after sustaining a severe perineal tear, you need to consider whether medical negligence is to blame.
If your tear was not adequately repaired or was not diagnosed at all, you could be the victim of medical negligence. This would entitle you to make a claim for compensation.
A colostomy is when the large intestine is diverted through a purpose-made hole in the abdomen. A bag is placed over the hole on the surface of the skin and collects faeces as it passes through the digestive system.
A colostomy prevents faeces leaving the body in the ‘normal’ way via the anus. This might be needed if there is a problem with one or more elements of the digestive tract. For example, some patients with chronic bowel disease or cancer may have part of their bowel surgically removed, meaning it is no longer possible to defecate in the ordinary way.
Colostomy bag after birth
Another reason why a colostomy might be needed is after a particularly traumatic vaginal delivery. If a woman suffers a severe tear – such as a 3c tear or fourth degree tear – the perineum and anal sphincter complex can be badly damaged.
The injury may be so bad that a woman becomes incontinent of faeces, no longer having the ability to defer defecation for less than a minute or so. If so the decision may be taken to fit the patient with a colostomy, thereby preventing daily episodes of incontinence.
A colostomy may also be needed if a secondary repair of the anal sphincter is carried out. A secondary repair is one that is conducted a long time after the original injury occurred. If the repair is extensive a laparoscopic loop colostomy may be fashioned, giving the wound time to heal.
For some women the colostomy will be temporary. Even so, the operation will undoubtedly cause pain and suffering for the patient, followed by a period of recovery. More surgery will be needed in the future in order to reverse the colostomy which is associated with further hospitalisation and risks such as an anastomotic leakage. There is also the possibility that the patient will develop a hernia at the stoma site which could require further surgical repair.
Sadly for some women the injuries and associated symptoms will be too severe and the colostomy will be permanent.
Colostomy due to medical negligence
We have dealt with cases in which a woman has been left with a colostomy bag after medical practitioners made mistakes during/after the birth of their baby. Most commonly midwives or doctors failed to diagnose a tear, meaning it was not repaired quickly enough, resulting in a poor outcome.
If you have got a colostomy because of medical errors, you could be entitled to compensation. Get in touch with us to find out more.