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Third degree tear settlement of £90,000

Maria Panteli successfully secures compensation for young mother

Posted on 10 October 2011

Clinical negligence solicitor, Maria Panteli, has successfully secured compensation of £90,000 for a young woman who suffered an undiagnosed third degree perineal tear whilst giving birth to her first child.

Our client experienced a normal and healthy pregnancy.  When her due date had passed by some days her consultant recommended artificial rupture of the membranes and induction of labour. 

On 17 March 2008 our client underwent artificial rupture of the membranes and was given Syntocinon, a drug that is used to accelerate labour.  The baby was born by vaginal delivery on 18 March 2008 with the placenta being delivered shortly thereafter.

After our client’s placenta had been delivered, it was noted that a second degree tear was present and needed stitching. Heavy bleeding was noted at this stage.  The suturing was done in the delivery room by the midwife.  Our client required a three unit blood transfusion and was discharged home on 21 March 2008.

Misdiagnosed 3rd degree tear 

On attending a perineal clinic at the hospital on 16 May 2008, our client was examined by a consultant gynaecologist who advised that she had suffered a third degree perineal tear, and not a second degree tear.  The consultant diagnosed a sphincter tear and noted that the client experienced urge incontinence and flatus. 

On 5 May 2009, our client underwent an anterior sphincter repair and reconstruction of the perineal skin.  She was discharged home on 11 May 2009.  Unfortunately the repair has not been altogether successful.

Our client still suffers from difficulties with her continence.  She suffers from pain when passing a bowel movement, she has difficulties in controlling urgency, she suffers from incomplete evacuation and she has no control of flatus.  Her injuries have affected her physical and emotional relationship with her partner.  She has also suffered and is still suffering from psychological trauma as a result of her injuries. 

Compensation for injury

It was our client’s case that if the third degree perineal tear had been correctly diagnosed at the time and our client had received an immediate repair by an experienced obstetrician, she would have had a good outcome and would not have experienced any continence  or related problems. 

The hospital trust admitted that there was a negligent failure to identify a third degree tear following delivery.  It was also accepted that had the tear been properly identified, our client would have avoided the period of enhanced incontinence from the time of the delivery until the sphincter repair operation.  However, it was denied by the trust that our client’s outcome would have been altered in any way at all by immediate care.

The parties entered into negotiations and the claim was settled for £90,000, with reasonable legal costs to be paid in addition to this.

For more information, please contact Maria Panteli on 020 7650 1200.