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Woman receives £141,054 following forceps delivery

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The claimant, a 28-year-old woman, received £141,054 for the fourth-degree tear of the anal sphincter and rectum she sustained whilst undergoing a forceps delivery in January 2012. She underwent surgical repair procedures but continued to suffer faecal urgency, incontinence and embarrassment.

On 21 January 2012 the woman gave birth at a hospital of the defendant trust (D). She underwent a forceps delivery and during the procedure she suffered a fourth-degree tear involving the external anal sphincter, the internal anal sphincter and the rectal mucosa.

Unfortunately, the woman required a surgical repair of the tear.  She was subsequently discharged to return home on 23 January 2012. However, she continued to experience problems subsequently and in October 2012 she underwent a secondary sphincter repair.

Even after surgery, the woman continued to suffer faecal urgency, incontinence and symptoms of passive faecal incontinence. The woman was also very embarrassed about the incident and found it difficult to come to terms with what had occurred.

Evidence suggested that it was likely that she would require further surgical treatment in the future but not immediately. She would also be more vulnerable to suffering psychological problems in the future. She required psychotherapy to help her come to terms with what had occurred and to protect her from suffering such problems in the future.

The woman instructed a specialist medical negligence solicitor to pursue a claim for compensation.

Supportive evidence was obtained and a claim was made against D. It was alleged that the registrar was negligent in stumbling or slipping whilst undertaking a forceps delivery

However, liability was denied and it was argued that the registrar had not slipped or stumbled but had merely taken a step backwards to adjust his posture. D contended that, even if the registrar had stumbled whilst the forceps were still inside the vagina, such action was not negligent and that third and fourth-degree tears could occur non-negligently.

Following a trial it was established that the injuries were caused by the registrar stumbling or slipping whilst undertaking a forceps delivery, thereby causing a sudden and forceful downward movement of the forceps blades. That was then transmitted mainly through the anal sphincter or rectum, causing a fourth-degree tear.

Damages were assessed in the sum of £141,054.

Johnathan Steventon-Kiy, specialist medical negligence lawyer, says:

“As can be seen from the facts in this case, claims for medical negligence are very complex and input from specialist solicitors is required to ensure that the Claimant receives the compensation that they deserve. If you, or anyone you know, has suffered injuries as a result of medical negligence, contact Biscoes Solicitors for a free consultation and advice. We are able to pursue claims on a no win no fee basis.”

Contact our specialist personal injury, medical negligence and industrial disease solicitors on 0800 413 463 or visit for more information. You can also follow us on twitter using the handle @biscoesmedneg