LD V THE ROTHERHAM NHS FOUNDATION TRUST
General Damages £75,000
Sheffield County Court
5th March 2019
The Claimant (DOB 22nd February 1991) was almost 21 years old at the date of the index events on the 21st January 2012. She sustained a 4th degree tear in the course of giving birth. This involves a tear of the external anal sphincter, the internal anal sphincter and rectal mucosa. She established following a trial that this was caused by the registrar stumbling or slipping whilst undertaking a forceps delivery. The Defendant argued that he had not slipped or stumbled but merely took a step backwards to adjust his posture and further argued that even he had stumbled whilst the forceps were still inside the vagina this was not negligent. The Defendant sought to rely upon the fact that third and fourth-degree tears can occur non-negligently. It was found that the doctor negligently stumbled or slipped causing a sudden, forceful downward movement of the forceps blades which was transmitted mainly through the anal sphincter/rectum thereby causing a fourth degree tear.
The Claimant had a repair undertaken in theatre by a specialist registrar supervised by a consultant. She was then discharged home on the 23rd January 2012. In October 2012, as a result of continuing problems she was listed for a secondary sphincter repair procedure and this was duly carried out in October 2012. She has faecal urgency and incontinence since the birth. She suffers from faecal urgency and has symptoms of passive faecal incontinence. The Claimant is likely to require further treatment over the course of her lifetime but not in the immediate future. The Claimant has also suffered some psychiatric symptoms in that she continues to suffer huge embarrassment and requires psychotherapy in helping her to come to terms with what has happened and in protecting her against future psychological problems that she will be more vulnerable to. The Claimant was awarded past care in the sum of £4,664.86 to account for the additional care given to her by her family; £865 in respect of past additional sanitary products. The Claimant was awarded a total of £52,690 in respect of a number of procedures including Percutaneous Tibial Nerve Stimulation (PTNS) and Sacral Nerve Stimulation (SNS); £5,850.69 in respect of future aids and equipment and £733.24 in respect of future earnings losses she would incur when undergoing surgery . She was also awarded £1,250 in respect of future psychosexual counselling.
Suzanne Lambert instructed by DAC Beachcroft solicitors on behalf of the Defendant.