Medical Verdicts

What caused fecal incontinence?


Fulton County (Ga) State Court

A 37-year-old woman delivered a healthy infant after normal labor and vaginal delivery. After birth the woman had total fecal incontinence, and could no longer work or perform many activities. A sphincteroplasty to repair an anal sphincter tear was unsuccessful.

In suing, the woman asserted her physician failed to recognize, treat, or repair the tear during delivery.

Her physician countered that a history of hemorrhoidectomy and fistulotomy from 15 years before the birth should have been revealed in the medical history forms completed by the patient. The physician asserted that had he known about this medical history, he would have suggested a cesarean section. He also contended that some types of muscle tears are unrecognizable.

  • After 2 mistrials, the jury returned a defense verdict.
The cases in this column are selected by the editors of OBG Management from Medical Malpractice Verdicts, Settlements & Experts, with permission of the editor, Lewis Laska, of Nashville, Tenn ( The available information about the cases presented here is sometimes incomplete; thus, pertinent details of a given situation may be unavailable. Moreover, the cases may or may not have merit. Nevertheless, these cases represent the types of clinical situations that typically result in litigation and are meant to illustrate nationwide variation in jury verdicts and awards.

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