Rectovaginal fistula, also known as obstetric fistula, is the result of trauma during childbirth, with around 350 in 100,000 women affected. This debilitating medical condition causes an abnormal connection or ‘fistula’ between the vagina and the rectum. This can lead to faecal incontinence, where faeces can escape through the vagina, leading to recurrent vaginal and urinary infections. Rectovaginal fistula normally appears about a week after delivery and is normally the result of a long labour. The blood supply to the perineum is cut off due to the baby’s pressure on the birth canal, causing the tissue to die and rot away. This leaves a hole between the rectum and the vagina. Symptoms can include:
- Ulcers in the vaginal tract
- Recurrent infections
- Urine or faecal incontinence
- Nerve damage, which in severe cases could lead to paralysis of the legs
Whilst smaller fistulas normally heal themselves in around three months, surgery is usually needed to repair and reconstruct the area. Failure to treat the fistula could cause serious infection and even lead to kidney failure. If your labour has not been sufficiently monitored; for example, if there was an opportunity for a Caesarean to be carried out, which would have prevented a fistula from occurring, you may be eligible to claim compensation for rectovaginal fistula.
How to claim compensation for medical negligence
When you’re in labour, you expect a certain standard of professionalism from those involved in the birth of your baby. If medical negligence occurs and you are left suffering from a rectovaginal fistula, you are probably feeling angry and frustrated at a time when you should be enjoying being a new mum. Claiming compensation for rectovaginal fistula is one way to deal with these feelings; you’ll be compensated for pain and suffering caused, as well as loss of earnings due to any time off work to recover. There is a time limit in place for compensation claims; this is usually three years from the date of the delivery, but it is best to contact a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible.
Have you been affected by clinical negligence?
If you’re considering claiming compensation for rectovaginal fistula, or any other birth injury, you’ll need a personal injury lawyer you can trust. Accident Advice Helpline is accredited by the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers and we come highly recommended by our patron, TV personality Esther Rantzen. We deal with every claim on an individual basis, and our professional personal injury lawyers are happy to offer you confidential, no-obligation advice, whatever questions you may have. Call us today to see what we can do for you.