The Plaintiff in this case attended a private maternity hospital for the birth of her first child in 2009. She came under the care of a Consultant Obstetrician who delivered her baby by way of forceps delivery following a failed ventouse and covering episiotomy. Following the delivery of her son, it was noted that the Plaintiff had suffered a partial third degree perineal tear which her Consultant Obstetrician repaired in the delivery suite. In the days following the delivery and while the Plaintiff was still in hospital she noticed that she was passing flatus and faeces through her vagina. Her complaints to the staff in the hospital of these symptoms were not acted upon and she was discharged home with her baby son.
The Plaintiff re-attended the hospital emergency department a few days later with a severe infection and complaining of severe symptoms of faecal incontinence. She was admitted and reviewed by a Consultant Colorectal Surgeon who referred her on for specialist investigations at the Mater Hospital. The Plaintiff was informed that she had in fact suffered a fourth degree perineal tear and a recto vaginal fistula had developed as a result of her undiagnosed fourth degree tear. The Plaintiff underwent a number of investigations under anaesthetic to establish the location and size of her fistula and the following year underwent extensive reconstructive surgery on her anal sphincter muscles and to close the fistula tract. Unfortunately this surgery was unsuccessful and the Plaintiff continued to suffer symptoms of faecal and flatus incontinence. The Plaintiff underwent a second attempted surgery in 2012 which appeared to be largely successful though there was evidence of a small, persistent pin hole fistula tract.
Augustus Cullen Law obtained expert obstetric and colorectal opinions which identified a number of failings in the care the Plaintiff received from her Consultant Obstetrician and the maternity hospital for the failure to identify a fourth degree perineal tear following the birth of her son. Proceedings were issued against both and following lengthy litigation, liability was formally admitted on the part of the Consultant Obstetrician. The case proceeded to trial to assess damages and on the third day of trial the Plaintiff accepted an offer of €350,000 and costs in full and final settlement of her claim.
22 May 2015