After her episiotomy was cut with blunt scissors and at the wrong angle, Gail sustained a third degree tear. This was not diagnosed, resulting in total faecal incontinence.
As Gail’s labour was failing to progress, the decision was made to proceed with a forceps delivery. As is standard practice, the registrar told Gail that an episiotomy had to be performed first, to which she consented.
Gail contracted and the registrar cut her perineum using the scissors from the episiotomy pack. The doctor immediately said they were blunt, but there was no time to fetch another pair. Nonetheless, a health baby girl was subsequently delivered with forceps.
The registrar then sutured Gail’s episiotomy wound together, apologising for the blunt scissors. At no point was a digital rectal examination carried out, and there was no mention of a tear. Gail was discharged the following day.
When the community midwife checked Gail’s stitches, she advised that the cut had been made downwards, which is no longer acceptable practice in the UK. Instead the cut should be made diagonally, as this reduces the likelihood of a serious perineal tear occurring.
Because of the blunt scissors and the negligent cut, the skin and muscle tissue in Gail’s perineum did not heal properly. She suffered chronic pain for four weeks and, six weeks after the birth, she began to experience faecal urgency and incontinence.
When this did not settle down, Gail sought advice from her GP. She was referred to a specialist who said there was an injury to the anal sphincter complex. This represented a third degree tear and had been caused by the negligent episiotomy. It should have been diagnosed and repaired shortly after the delivery.
Gail was therefore subject to repeated incidents of medical incompetence. The blunt scissors resulted in ragged incisions that damaged the tissue, causing it to heal poorly. The cut was made straight downwards (midline), rather than diagonally (medio-lateral).
This negligent episiotomy directly contributed towards a third degree tear, an injury which was not detected and repaired after the birth, as it should have been. This led to incontinence of faeces and flatus, and severe distress.
These devastating complications could have been avoided, if only the registrar had performed an episiotomy of a reasonable standard. We helped Gail make a claim for the terrible injuries she has been caused, securing over £60,000 compensation on her behalf.
(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.