Kelly gave birth to a baby boy on 08 August 2005. During the course of delivery she suffered a perineal tear. She was referred by the midwife to the Surgical SHO who examined Kelly and who noted a tear.
The SHO repaired the tear, believing it to only be a second degree tear and therefore no rectal examination was performed. In fact the tear was a fourth degree tear involving damage to both the internal and external sphincter and causing an ano-vaginal fistula.
Kelly was discharged home on 10 August 2005. On 23 September 2005 Kelly was referred back to hospital suffering with the passing of faeces and flatus into her vagina.
Kelly also suffered with anal incontinence and anal soiling on a daily basis, causing her great distress and embarrassment, and effectively leaving her housebound.
Kelly continued to suffer from severe symptoms of faecal incontinence until a secondary repair operation was finally performed in July 2006, following which her ano-vaginal fistula healed and she noticed a marked improvement in anal control. Kelly was referred for bio-feedback sessions which led to a further improvement in her symptoms to the extent that she was able to return to work.
Expert advice was sought from a Consultant Gynaecologist as well as a Consultant Colo-Rectal Surgeon.
A Letter of Claim was served on the Defendants alleging negligence in failing to perform a rectal examination, which would have revealed the full extent of the sphincter damage and which would have led to an immediate primary repair operation.
It was claimed that with such an operation, Kelly would have avoided the symptoms that she suffered with for the next 11 months and would have been able to return to work following her maternity leave.
Expert evidence confirmed that Kelly's long term symptoms would have been the same, regardless of whether the repair was performed in August 2005 or July 2006.
The Defendants admitted negligence in their Letter of Response and put forward an offer of £35,000 in settlement of Kelly's claim, which was accepted. Kelly received the full £35,000 and did not pay any legal fees.
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