December 1, 2020

£70,000 settlement for woman who suffered avoidable injuries during childbirth at Lewisham Hospitals NHS Trust

The woman sued a London NHS Hospital alleging that it was negligent in:

  1. failing to advise her to stop pushing as the fetal head was crowning and in fact actively encouraged her to push;
  2. failing to recognise that the woman was at risk of perineal damage as a result of the large size of the baby, prolonged second stage of labour and uncertainty of position of the baby's head;
  3. failing to perform an episiotomy;
  4. failing to protect the woman’s perineum by holding the fetal head to aid delivery in a controlled manner.

The woman suffered significant faecal incontinence and faecal urgency. She suffered constant leakage of stool, severe incontinence rated 19 out of 20 on the Cleveland Score, and pudendal neuropathy.

After continued problems following the birth a colo-rectal surgeon performed an examination under anaesthetic. He did not find a fistula. He advised the woman that a secondary external anal sphincter repair and posterior colpoperineorrhaphy surgery was required; her condition improved after surgery.

While our client continued to suffer from flatal incontinence, faecal urgency and faecal leakage it was to a much lesser extent. She had to adjust her diet significantly to improve her symptoms to that effect. In addition to her physical symptoms, C suffered from depression. She was very conscious of her symptoms which had an effect on her professional, social and sexual life.

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