After her 4th degree tear was poorly repaired, Tamsin was left with a defect in her anal sphincter and a recto-vaginal fistula. Despite having a temporary colostomy and secondary repair, she continues to leak faeces on a constant basis.
When Tamsin’s contractions began, she went to hospital three times but she was sent home and told to take paracetamol despite being in considerable pain.
A doctor finally decided to perform a scan, despite a midwife saying there was “no point” in doing so. The scan showed that the baby was lying back to back, halting the progression of labour and making it very painful for Tamsin.
By now the baby was distressed and Tamsin was taken to theatre. The baby was rotated with the use of forceps and delivered during a contraction. However, Tamsin was not given an episiotomy, which is unusual for an assisted delivery.
The doctor immediately diagnosed a 4th degree tear. He carried out a repair which Tamsin could feel because the epidural had worn off. Her requests for more pain relief were largely ignored. She was not examined before or after the procedure, nor was she given IV antibiotics.
Two days after the birth of her son, Tamsin passed a bowel motion which she noticed came out of her vagina. This continued for the next nine days and she had to bathe constantly to prevent an infection.
By the ninth day she had not improved so returned to the same hospital and saw the same midwife who had overseen her labour. Swabs were taken but Tamsin was told there was nothing wrong and to return home.
For the next six weeks Tamsin lived with her symptoms. The hospital had not contacted her, so she assumed the swab results were normal. But at her six-week check-up she saw a different consultant who instantly recognised that she had a recto-vaginal fistula.
The fistula was 1.5cm long and could be seen without the need of an internal examination. The recent swab results were also recorded in Tamsin’s notes, indicating ‘profuse faecal cultures’. The hospital had failed to notify Tamsin or act on the results.
The consultant told Tamsin that she needed a temporary colostomy bag, which would allow her bowel to rest for four months. She would then need an operation to repair the fistula and another to reverse the colostomy.
During the first operation, the consultant was able to investigate the injury more thoroughly. He noted that there was also a defect in the anal sphincter, revealing that the 4th degree tear had been poorly repaired. He later described the injury to Tamsin as ‘more severe that he had first thought’.
Sadly, the surgical treatment has led to little improvement in Tamsin’s condition. She feels constantly unclean and needs to be close to a bathroom at all times. This has made it very hard for her to work.
As a result of these injuries, Tamsin has become depressed. She feels she missed out on the first two years of her child’s life, and believes she has failed as a mother.
We advised Tamsin that she had been repeatedly subjected to substandard medical care. The birth was badly managed, an episiotomy was not performed, IV antibiotics were not administered, an examination was not done before/after the repair, the repair was of a poor standard and the fistula was not diagnosed.
We helped Tamsin make a claim for the awful injuries she continues to endure. She was awarded in excess of £100,000 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.