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Are OASIs Negligent?

Are OASIs Negligent?

Suffering a severe birth tear is not always negligent. However, failing to diagnose or repair one may well justify a claim for compensation.

What is an OASI?

An obstetric anal sphincter injury is a tear which can cause damage to a woman's perineum and anus during vaginal childbirth.

Otherwise known as severe perineal tears, or third and fourth degree tears, these injuries tear the muscles which control the bowel, often leaving the woman to suffer long-term bowel problems such as wind and faecal incontinence.

There has been some evidence that severe birth tears or OASIs are increasing and there are attempts by the NHS, the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists in combination with the Royal College of Midwives, to counter this trend and increase awareness of and effective diagnosis of this appalling and life-changing injury.

The effects of an OASI

Not every woman who gives birth vaginally suffers a severe tear. And not every woman who suffers an OASI experiences long-term problems. However, many women do continue to suffer shocking bowel problems because either their injury has not been accurately and fully diagnosed, or the quality of the surgical repair was not sufficient to resolve the bowel problems.

Failing to diagnose the full extent of a woman's severe birth tear will probably mean that she does receive a complete repair. This, in its turn, may mean that she suffers some or all of the following symptoms:

  • Extreme urgency when needing the toilet
  • Incontinence of wind
  • Incontinence of faeces
  • Leakage of wind and faeces from the vagina
  • Perineal infections
  • Discomfort during sexual intercourse

Women who suffer long-term problems due to severe birth tears often also suffer emotional, social and financial problems.

Medical negligence

Suffering an OASI is not necessarily negligent. It is a risk of vaginal childbirth, especially for women giving birth for the first time or who require an instrumental delivery. It is also more common in women who are carrying a large baby or one which suffers shoulder dystocia during the birth.

However, it might be regarded as negligent if medical professionals fail to identify that a woman has suffered a severe birth tear, fail to diagnose it accurately or fail to repair it competently and fully.

Speak to a specialist solicitor

If you are suffering the appalling and debilitating impact of an anal sphincter injury during childbirth, contact Glynns Solicitors to talk to an experienced medical negligence solicitor.

If your injury has restricted your capacity to work, you may be able to make a claim for compensation for your pain, suffering and past and future financial losses.

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

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