Clinical Negligence

Mum compensated for third degree tear suffered in labour when elective caesarean section refused

Jenny Waight, specialist clinical negligence lawyer acting for the claimant successfully obtained an out of court settlement of £150,000 to compensate the claimant for their pain and suffering and to pay for future treatment.

The claimant had a traumatic delivery with her first child leading to a third degree tear and two blood transfusions.  She had a prolonged recovery and required extra help in the newborn period but had no long term sequelae.

The claimant fell pregnant with her second child.  She was extremely anxious and fearful of tearing again.  Antenatally, she saw the obstetric registrar and expressed a preference to have an elective caesarean section.  She was told that elective episiotomy could be offered but the mode of delivery would be discussed later in the pregnancy.

The midwife documented mental health issues due to the traumatic first delivery and anxiety about labour this time around.

At 32 weeks gestation, the claimant saw the consultant and explained again that she wished to have an elective caesarean section.  She had undertaken research into caesarean section and was prepared to accept increased recovery time rather than tear again.  The consultant advised against caesarean section and that she was unlikely to tear again and that she would have a good recovery from natural labour.  He advised that a consultant would be in the room and an episiotomy performed to prevent a further tear.  On that basis, the claimant agreed to try for a natural labour.

The rest of the pregnancy was uneventful.  The claimant attended hospital at 40+5 weeks gestation and labour proceeded quickly.  Unfortunately, the claimant suffered another third degree tear.

The claimant suffered urinary stress incontinence requiring up to four incontinence pads per day.  This was unlikely to resolve with physiotherapy and the claimant would require surgery to resolve the problem.

Further, she suffered poor squeeze pressures leading to episodes of faecal incontinence.

The claimant had not been provided with informed consent in relation to the choice of mode of delivery.  Had she been adequately informed of the risks of perineal trauma, she would have opted for elective caesarean section.

An early admission of liability was obtained from the trust who admitted that the claimant had been inadequately consented as to the risks of a second vaginal tear.  A letter of apology was also received from the defendant trust.

Following receipt of specialist expert evidence in urogynaecology and colorectal surgery, a negotiated settlement was achieved for £150,000.

Jenny Waight specialises in obstetric cases.  If you would like to ask a question about a potential case, or if you have a general query about any personal injury, contact Jenny Waight at Thomson Snell & Passmore solicitors on 01892 701134 in confidence.

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