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Botched Episiotomy Leaves Woman With Embarrassing Symptoms

Botched episiotomy leaves woman with terrible symptoms
Photograph by Getty Images/moodboard RF

Well, this is rather petrifying.

Opera singer and Army wife Amy Herbst is suing the Army hospital where she delivered her baby after a botched episiotomy left her with some pretty unspeakable (and lifelong) symptoms. According to her suit, Herbst returned home from Ford Campbell's Blanchfield Army Community Hospital last February and immediately began experiencing "fecal urgency and incontinence, including periodic leaking of stool and excessive flatulence."

(Um, what?!)

While certainly no one ever wants an episiotomy—aka the incision made along the perineum to create more space for a baby to come out during childbirth—doctors say it's often unavoidable. But in Herbst's case, she argues that the Army nurse who performed the operation did so unnecessarily, without her consent and far too late into the delivery. She also says that the embarrassing symptoms, which plague her daily, have basically ruined her singing career.

"There seemed to be an assumption that they didn't need to involve the patient in the decision making," her attorney Charles Allen told Army Times of the procedure. "And they were completely wrong, as a matter of law and social responsibility. The patient has a right to decide what's done with her body."

Sigh. We really feel for this woman. Mostly because this all sounds pretty terrible, but also because her body is now headline news. For anyone who's ever been in the throes of labor and delivery, you always hope that whatever's going on down there with your vagina is all above-board; but it's not really what you're actively thinking about—you just hope that baby of yours gets out quickly and safely. The last thing you'd expect to find after the whole ordeal is that your lady bits have been forever altered.

Herbst and her husband, Staff Sgt. James Herbst, are suing the government in Cincinnati federal court for a whopping $2.5 million.

"She is suffering through a very embarrassing and very significant injury, and frankly, the prognosis of a fully successful repair is pretty low," her attorney Charles Allen told Army Times.

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