After five months of faecal incontinence post-delivery, Aileen was told that her 4th degree tear had been poorly repaired, leaving her unable to control her bowels. She now faces permanent incontinence.
The birth of Aileen’s first baby was poorly managed. She was allowed to labour for two days, and when an instrumental delivery was eventually carried out, it was done in the delivery suite – rather than in theatre.
A baby boy was safely born, but his shoulder had been delivered through Aileen’s anus. The doctor diagnosed a 4th degree tear and sent her to theatre where the injury was repaired.
Aileen’s traumatic experience continued when she was back on the labour ward. She was bleeding profusely but was given little help.
The following day Aileen discharged herself. She was in excruciating pain and was distressed by the care she had received.
To make matters worse, when she stepped out the car, she wet herself. A friend advised two weeks of bed rest, but this had little effect. She remained incontinent of urine, and also found she could not control her bowels properly.
Aileen and her husband were extremely concerned about these symptoms, but both her GP and Community Midwife offered reassurance. Physiotherapy did strengthen her pelvic floor slightly, improving her urinary incontinence. However, she remained incontinent of faeces.
Five months later, and tests showed defects to both the external and internal anal sphincter, meaning the doctor had not repaired the 4th degree tear properly. Due to the poor repair, Aileen still had an injury in both her anal sphincters. This made it impossible for her to control her bowels and prevent the passing of wind.
Had the 4th degree tear been repaired to the standard expected of a reasonably competent doctor, it is likely that she would have made a recovery. Instead, she is expected to suffer from incontinence for the rest of her life.
As a result, Aileen has had to give up her job and this lost income has caused significant strain on the family.
She has also become highly anxious about staying close to a toilet at all times. She is reluctant to put herself into social situations where she may have an accident or pass wind.
The physical, emotional and financial damages that Aileen has endured, and will continue to endure, are significant. All this could have been avoided, had the repair been of a better standard.
We helped Aileen pursue a medical negligence claim. She was awarded in excess of £250,000.
(Details which might identify our client have been changed.)