Childbirth: Wrexham woman left with stoma and PTSD

Legend, Amy Stead received more than £500,000 in compensation

  • Author, Sarah Easedale
  • Role, BBC News

A woman has been awarded more than £500,000 in compensation after her childbirth left her with a permanent stoma and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Amy Stead, 37, suffered a serious tear during childbirth at Wrexham Maelor Hospital in 2019, which was not repaired and worsened after she was sent home.

She said women were “bearing the brunt” of pressures on the NHS.

Betsi health board chief executive Cadwaladr said she was “sincerely sorry” that Ms Stead had been “so gravely disappointed”.

Ms Stead’s tear went undetected by an obstetrician who was “rushing to finish” and it was later discovered a hole had opened between her vagina and rectum.

She later underwent surgery, but was left with a permanent ostomy and post-traumatic stress disorder.

Ms Stead, who also works at the hospital, said it had also spoiled her experience of becoming a first-time mother.

She said: “In between all of this, I was trying to breastfeed my newborn. It was just very upsetting.

“I wasn’t in a very good situation, but I hid it from my family and friends.

“Luckily, I had a good bond with my son. But I didn’t tell anyone about what was going on in my head.”

She said the obstetrician should have carried out a proper investigation into her tear and that pressures on the NHS were leading to injuries and deaths on maternity wards.

She added that there was a theme of women not being listened to or believed.

“Some people are told it’s in the head. I’ve been told I don’t know my own body, when I knew it,” she said.

Ms Stead was recently awarded £575,000 in damages for the injuries she suffered.

Legend, Ms Stead says she is grateful to have been able to bond with her son

In a statement apologizing to Ms Stead, Betsi Cadwaladr Health Board chief executive Carol Shillabeer said training for medical and midwifery staff had been improved.

She said: “We recognize that no amount of money can make up for the devastating impact that serious failures in care can have on patients and their families.

“Since this incident, we have adopted a quality improvement initiative across Wales to ensure that women suffering from obstetric anal sphincter injuries routinely receive safe and effective care. »

The Welsh Government said it was sorry to learn of Ms Stead’s “devastating” experience.

He adds: “Safety in maternity care is our key priority and we expect all health boards to implement evidence-based practices and provide holistic care for women and families. “

He said he had also launched a program in 2022 to improve the safety of maternal and newborn care in Wales, and that a quality statement was being developed to reflect his “determination” to improve these services .

Image source, Family photo

Legend, Amy Stead says this photo, taken on her 32nd birthday just after her operation, reminds her of the terrible pain she felt

Despite her experience, Ms Stead said she was “determined” that her experience would not impact on her and her husband’s family plans.

In 2021, the couple welcomed their second son.

Ms Stead had an elective caesarean section due to her stoma and previous injuries.

However, even though she wanted to have more children, she decided to no longer subject her body to childbirth, something she said she came to terms with through therapy.

She also documented her experience on Instagram, which she said led other women to come forward with similar stories.

“I’m not the only one this is happening to. I think that’s what’s shocking too.”

Image source, Family photo

Legend, Ms Stead shares her experiences on social media to help other women

She said she believed maternity services had improved at Wrexham Maelor in the five years since she first gave birth, but said wider change was needed.

“They (maternity services) need to stop dismissing women. They need to start listening to them and come up with a better aftercare program for them.

“What happened to me should never happen.”

News Source :
Gn Health

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