Settlement for woman suffering severe anal sphincter injury following birth | Fieldfisher
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Case Study

Settlement for woman suffering severe anal sphincter injury following birth

Gabriella Gooday and Jane Weakley achieved a substantial settlement on behalf of a woman who suffered a severe anal sphincter injury following the delivery of her first child at Queen's Hospital, Romford.

The baby was delivered with the assistance of forceps and an episiotomy. Post-delivery, the obstetrician assessed the Claimant as having sustained a grade 3b perineal tear. The Claimant was transferred to theatre where the obstetrician performed a perineal repair, unsupervised. He purported to have repaired the external anal sphincter. 

Post-discharge, the Claimant reported distressing symptoms of faecal and flatus incontinence and urgency. She attended follow up appointments at Queen's Hospital where she was subsequently referred to Royal London Hospital for further investigation.

In February, nine months post-delivery, the results showed that the Claimant, in fact, had suffered a severe anal sphincter injury, equivalent to at least a large grade 3c tear (an injury to both the internal and external anal sphincter) and a cloacal defect.

In the early stages of litigation, it was discovered that the obstetrician who wrongly identified and repaired the Claimant's severe perineal tear unsupervised was not appropriately trained to do so.

The Defendant Trust admitted that the obstetrician wrongly identified the tear as grade 3b (instead of grade 3c), however, argued that the Claimant would have suffered symptoms relating to faecal incontinence and urgency in any event.

Gabriella obtained supportive causative expert evidence in the fields of obstetrics and colorectal surgery arguing that with proper assessment and treatment, including by a trained a doctor, a grade 3c tear would have been diagnosed and repaired. With competent primary repair, the Claimant would have avoided faecal incontinence or, in the event she had symptoms, these would have been minor.

The Claimant now requires secondary repair surgery in the future, alongside long-term conservative management. There is a possibility of colostomy. The symptoms affect her everyday life and cause her significant anxiety and distress.

Following settlement, the Claimant said:

"I felt overwhelmed when looking for solicitors but I knew instantly I wanted Fieldfisher to support me from the moment I met Gabriella and Jane. They have lots of expertise in medical negligence in which they had gained my trust and confidence to pursue further.

"It has been an extremely difficult process, emotionally and physically, in coming to terms with my new hidden disabilities as a new mum.

"I highly recommend Gabriella and Jane as they have helped me moved forwards and finally be able to enjoy my new young family."

Contact us

For further information about birth injury to mothers claims, please call Gabriella Gooday on 03304606758 or email or call Jane Weakley on 03304606773 or email


All enquiries are completely free of charge and we will investigate all funding options for you including no win, no fee. Find out more about no win no fee claims.

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