Our Service For You

Birth Injury Claims
3RD Degree Tear Negligence

3RD Degree Tear Negligence

It is absolutely crucial that third degree tears following vaginal childbirth are managed competently by medical professionals. When that does not occur and the new mother is left with permanent and debilitating symptoms, it may be appropriate to make a claim for compensation.

Third degree tears

If a third degree tear remains unrepaired, the new mother is at risk of developing bowel incontinence. This may mean the loss of control over when she passes wind and faeces.

The long-term impact of this can be devastating, limiting the woman's ability to work, socialise and travel.

Third degree tears cause damage to the anal sphincter muscles during childbirth. At best, they tear only the external muscle but they can also damage the internal muscle, causing more severe symptoms.

Managing third degree tears

Substandard care of third degree tears may take a number of different forms:

  • If no examination or an inadequate examination is carried out, the presence of a third degree tear may be completely missed, leaving the new mother with distressing bowel problems
  • If a thorough examination is not carried out, a third degree tear may be misdiagnosed as a tear of lesser severity. For example, a 3c tear which involves damage internal to the anus, may be wrongly diagnosed as a 3a tear which only causes external damage. As a consequence, the surgical repair may be inadequate to the damage, leaving the woman with continuing symptoms despite her repair.
  • The anal sphincter damage may have been accurately diagnosed but the surgical repair may be incompetent in some way, such as the incorrect use of techniques or materials, again meaning that the woman's symptoms continue.

Classification of third degree tears:

All third degree tears damage the anal sphincter, the muscles which control the opening and closing of the bowel. However, the extent of anal damage can vary.

  • A 3a tear will damage less than 50% of the external anal sphincter
  • A 3b tear will damage more than 50% of the external anal sphincter
  • A 3c tear will damage both external and internal anal sphincter

It is important that the precise nature of a 3rd degree tear is identified in order to ensure a thorough repair. If a 3c tear is mistaken for a 3a tear, the internal damage will remain unrepaired and the woman will continue to experience bowel problems.

Medical negligence

If a woman's on-going bowel symptoms are due to a failure by medical professionals to diagnose and manage her tear competently, it may be appropriate to make a claim for compensation.

Contact Glynns to talk to a specialist medical negligence solicitor if you are suffering on-going bowel problems due to an undiagnosed tear.

Please call us on 0800 234 3300 (or from a mobile 01275 334030) or complete our Online Enquiry Form.

Free enquiry

Free Claim Enquiry

Complete a short enquiry form and we will contact you.

Free enquiry



"I would like to say a big thank you to you for making this whole process easy and relatively painless. You kept me informed throughout and you were always polite and courteous in all forms of communication. I would not hesitate to recommend you to friends and family, so a really big thank you and I wish you all the best in the future." Mr A.

“Thank you for everything that Glynns did for us to achieve a successful outcome.”

» Read More Medical Negligence Testimonials?


Our Expertise

clinical negligence panel

Helping Clients throughout England and Wales

contact us


Free Cauda Equina Guide

Read our comprehensive guide to Cauda Equina Syndrome & medical negligence claims.

Free download