Amy Herbst and her husband, James, welcomed their first child into the world in February 2012. But a botched procedure during the happy moment may have ruined the opera singer’s career.
A military nurse at the Blanchfield Army Community Hospital, where the baby was delivered, carried out an episiotomy (cutting of the tissue between the vagina and anus to help deliver the baby when the skin is at danger of tearing) during the birthing process. After labor, the same nurse repaired the tear using sutures. That last part didn’t go very well.
Herbst is now suing the government, claiming the nurse performed the procedure without her consent and that safer methods could have been used. Birth records show the episiotomy was necessary because the baby’s shoulder was holding back delivery. Regardless, the failure to repair the incision is causing a whole lotta problems:
At a follow-up hospital visit, she met with a nurse and ‘complained she could feel gas coming out of her vagina and was also experiencing difficulty controlling bowel movements’, the suit says.
A nurse told Herbst that the attempts to repair her incision had not worked.
Mrs Herbst had suffered a ‘complete breakdown of the episiotomy and perineum and the external sphincter is disrupted and the vagina and rectum are basically connected without any perineal body,’ the lawsuit claims.
The lawsuit claims that Herbst, a mezzo-soprano, is now unable to work as a professional opera singer. She has performed with the Nashville Opera Company.
‘As a result of her incontinence and excessive flatulence, Herbst has been unable to work as a professional opera singer,’ it says.
And there’s no easy solution to the problem. Herbst was told by a surgeon at Vanderbilt that the necessary reconstructive surgery “would likely not eliminate the lack of control of flatus and [she] may require additional surgeries in the future.” In addition:
She was also told that once the repair was performed, she will have to undergo a C-section in any future pregnancies.
When she told medical staff that C-sections could risk her singing career, they encouraged her not to undergo the procedure until she had finished having children, the suit says.
Mrs Herbst agreed and has chosen to postpone the repair of the dam.
So just to recap: Herbst’s career is on hold because she can’t sing without pooping and farting. The reconstructive surgery she needs probably won’t fix the problem, and even if it does she will still have to choose between her career and having more children. Anything else?
It has also left her with limitations on her sexual function, as well as pain during sex, the suit states.