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Olive Lewin successfully settles a claim for a fourth degree tear for £300,000

Severe perineal tear negligently repaired by hospital

Posted on 29 March 2012

Leading clinical negligence specialist lawyer Olive Lewin has recently secured a six figure sum of compensation for her client.  Mrs X was term plus 10 days in April 2007, when she went into labour. Following the passage of thick meconium, Mrs X was reviewed, and transferred to theatre for a trial of instrumental delivery which was performed. At 04.20, forceps were applied. The baby was successfully delivered at 04.27. During the course of the delivery, Mrs X suffered a fourth degree tear, extending some 4-5 cms into the rectum.

The repair of the tear was poorly documented and was not accurately described in detail.

Mrs X was discharged from hospital three days later. Shortly before she was discharged, a handful of blue stitches came away, but she was not reviewed by a doctor. In fact, at no point before her discharge from hospital was Mrs X seen by a consultant obstetrician or colo-rectal surgeon, nor told that she had suffered a fourth degree tear, nor given advice on what she should and shouldn’t do, nor given a post-natal appointment to see an obstetrician

The following day, she was visited at home by a midwife, who told her that she had suffered a fourth degree tear.

On the third day after coming home Mrs X noticed that she passed faeces via her vagina. She had developed a fistula (hole) and had a communication between her vagina and rectum. The midwife attended and made an immediate referral to hospital.

She was reviewed by the obstetric team, who asked, a consultant colo-rectal surgeon to consider the most appropriate treatment for the recto-vaginal fistula and the need for the formation of a defunctioning loop colostomy. At operation a 4-5 cm tear in rectum with pus was noted and “lots of vicryl rapide loose sutures lying around”.

Our client underwent a colostomy which was reversed four months later. To add to our client’s problems however an Aquacel swab was left in situ at the operation site, requiring a further laparotomy and exploration three days later.

Our client suffers from faecal incontinence, which consists of urgency, urge incontinence, impaired rectal evacuation, soiling and flatus incontinence which is particularly bad in the morning, and when she coughs or undertakes any strenuous exercise.

As a result of her symptoms, our client had to give up her work as an estate agent, and is now working from home on a part time basis.

She has had another baby, but this had to be delivered by Caesarean Section.

Clinical negligence and medical accident claims specialists

Leigh Day & Co clinical negligence claims lawyers are highly experienced in bringing successful claims for compensation relating to medical accidents, hospital negligence and hospital accidents and errors. The team has been rated as a leader in this field for over a decade by both main legal directories. Chambers 2012 said the team had an "outstanding" reputation for its clinical negligence work.

We have received recognition as being specialists in the field of clinical negligence work with our accreditations from AvMA, CBIT, the Law Society and Headway.

If you have suffered a 3rd r 4th degree tear and are suffering in silence from these injuries please contact the new client enquiry team about a possible claim for compensation on 020 7650 1200.