Medical Negligence

Mother-of-two suffers life-changing injuries during childbirth but left undiagnosed

Our client experienced undiagnosed intimate injuries from childbirth, which were worsened during the birth of her second child but whose concerns were dismissed.

06 June 2024

Our client

Our client, Brittany Dryden, suffered a 2cm perineal tear during the birth of her son, Aven, in 2016. Though it was found in an examination by midwives and repaired, a more significant injury remained undetected, and immediately Brittany began to experience symptoms. 

The injury left Brittany without proper control of her bowels but after raising the issue to doctors, she was told that her symptoms were normal and to be expected after childbirth.

After raising her concerns to the maternity staff at the Royal Sussex University Hospital – whose maternity unit is rated ‘inadequate’ by CQC - Brittany said she was “dismissed as a new mum who didn’t know what she was talking about” and was not given a proper examination. 

After the birth of her second son, Liam, in 2018, her symptoms worsened.

Despite being told that she needed to be referred for her condition, Brittany was unaware that her symptoms had been caused by a delay in diagnosing her initial injury.

Brittany said of her symptoms: “There was essentially a gaping hole in my body that no-one found because I wasn’t examined properly, but I was told later by a specialist gynaecological doctor that it was so obvious it would have been as plain to see as the nose on their face. But no-one checked.” 

While her second child, Liam, was found to be experiencing accelerated growth before his birth, Brittany said that at no point was having a caesarean discussed. Having a natural birth exacerbated the injury and Brittany’s symptoms were made worse with medical reports describing them as “severe and disabling.”

Despite this assessment, Brittany was still made to wait 18 months to see a specialist surgeon. This prompted her to use her medical insurance to go through private healthcare routes.

From a private physician, Brittany has been warned that while surgery is possible, it will not correct her problems entirely, and she will live with a permanent device placed in her, as well as needing a colostomy and using a stoma, with a risk of it being permanent. 

Despite both of her births being uncomplicated and routine, doctors have described her injury as ‘catastrophic’ that has resulted in an ‘extreme defect’.

Brittany is having to live with her symptoms, which have left her unable to work in a shared workplace and travel with work.

How Slater and Gordon is helping

The Royal Sussex maternity unit has been rated as inadequate by the CQC since October 2021 and has been subject to whistleblowing from its own staff to highlight its “unsafe” maternity service.

Brittany is being supported in taking legal action against the University Hospitals Sussex NHS Foundation Trust by Principal lawyer, Nisha Sharma. 

Nisha said of Brittany’s case: “Maternity teams have a duty to complete thorough assessments of their patients after childbirth, and also to listen to the concerns of new mothers rather than them being dismissed. This is absolutely unacceptable and inexcusable, and the impact on Brittany’s life has been enormous, both mentally and physically.

Nisha has extensive experience handling all types of medical negligence cases including:

  • Birth injuries
  • Delays in diagnosis
  • Surgical errors
  • Fatal claims

How can Slater and Gordon help you?

Our medical negligence solicitors are here to help you take the next steps. If you have experienced negligent medical care from a delayed diagnosis or a delay in treatment, our expert solicitors will be able to support you. We are committed to ensuring we get the best possible outcome for you. For more information on how we could help, get in touch, online or give us a call on 0330 107 4995

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