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Case Study

Watford General Hospital failed to notice mother's third-degree tear during forceps delivery

Jonathan Zimmern successfully reached settlement on behalf of a client who has been left with distressing incontinence and faecal urgency following delivery of her baby daughter in February 2015 at Watford General Hospital.

SD, who is a GP and previously trained in obstetrics and gynaecology at Watford General, was admitted to the same hospital when she went into labour. The midwife advised her she did not need the epidural she had initially requested but she later needed a syntocinon drip to try to progress her labour.

Once the baby's head failed to descend, the obstetrician recommended a forceps delivery without proceeding to theatre. Mrs D, who became extremely upset by the suggestion, asked to be given an epidural and taken to theatre, but was informed the baby would be delivered 'by one pull'. At this point, she had only received Entonox as pain relief.

She agreed reluctantly, but the pain of the delivery prompted Mrs D's legs to jerk and she suffered a third-degree tear. The obstetrician, who believed Mrs D had only suffered a second-degree tear, carried out the repair there and then without going to theatre and discharged Mrs D the next day.

From then on, Mrs D, who said she felt 'butchered', suffered continual daily pain, flatal incontinence, faecal urgency and frank faecal incontinence. Her GP, who suspected a third degree tear, referred her to a private gynaecologist and, under general anaesthetic, the tear was repaired in May 2015.

Despite physiotherapy that has improved Mrs D's condition, she may well need additional anal surgery in the future and continues to experience the distressing consequences of her mistreatment. She has had to radically change her diet and her professional and personal life has been badly affected.

SD instructed Jonathan to investigate her claim. He instructed experts in Obstetrics and Colorectal Surgery, who were both critical of the care she received. A Letter of Claim was sent to the Trust, following which they admitted liability for the injuries SD had sustained. Jonathan then took steps to quantify the claim and was later able to agree a settlement for SD of £225,000.

Upon completion of the case, SD said:

"Prior to working with Jonathan Zimmern at Fieldfisher I felt helpless about my medical injury. Up until that point, I felt that nobody cared about what had happened to me and all I wanted was a thorough investigation and an appropriate explanation for the events that had occurred. Thanks to Jonathan's remarkable work, I have received that thorough investigation and feel that I have now gained closure from what was a very traumatic life event.

"The most incredible thing for me, however, is the way in which Jonathan handled my case. Throughout the course of the case, he has treated me with great kindness, patience and compassion and has guided me through the whole process in a step-by-step fashion. His remarkable approach provided me with great solace during challenging times and has helped me move forward and recover psychologically from my injury.

"I cannot thank him and his team at Fieldfisher enough for their hard work and for giving me a voice when I most needed it".

Contact us

For further information about obstetrics negligence claims and third degree perineal tear claims, please call Jonathan Zimmern on 020 7861 4218 or email jonathan.zimmern@fieldfisher.com.

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

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