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Can I Get Compensation for a 3rd Degree Tear After an Assisted Delivery?

Can I Get Compensation for a 3rd Degree Tear After an Assisted Delivery?

A severe perineal tear after an assisted birth may not be a matter of negligence but a failure to diagnose the tear may well be. If the new mother suffers long-term symptoms, it might be appropriate to make a claim for compensation.

What is an assisted delivery?

An assisted delivery is sometimes also referred to as an instrumental delivery and is one where the medical professionals attending the birth use medical equipment such as forceps or a ventouse to assist the baby to move out of the birth canal.

Assisted births are sometimes carried out when labour has continued for an extended period of time without a successful delivery. It might also be used where there are concerns about the baby's health or position.

Perineal tear risks

An assisted birth can, however, increase the risk of the new mother suffering a severe birth tear.

A 3rd or 4th degree tear is more likely if the woman has required assistance with forceps or a ventouse. It is worth bearing in mind that such tears are also more likely where it is the woman's first vaginal delivery and where the baby is large.

Third and fourth degree tears damage the anal sphincter which is the muscles that control the bowel. Depending on the extent of the damage, the symptoms experienced by the woman can differ from urgency, to incontinence, to leakage from the vagina due to a fistula.

Assessing for anal damage

All mothers who have given birth through the vagina should undergo a thorough perineal examination following the birth to check for any evidence of damage. Where an assisted birth has taken place, it is particularly important due to the increased risk of a severe tear having occurred.

Carrying out a digital, rectal examination of the anus is vital in terms of achieving an accurate diagnosis of any anal damage.

A failure to diagnose a severe 3rd or 4th degree tear can mean that the woman does not receive a repair to her injury and can suffer appalling long-term symptoms of bowel incontinence as a result.


Therefore, if a thorough examination of the new mother is not carried out after childbirth, the relevant medical professionals may be regarded as having provided substandard care.

If the new mother suffers debilitating and long-term bowel problems as a result of this negligence, it may be appropriate to make a claim for compensation.

Speak to a solicitor

If your life has become restricted by the appalling symptoms of an unrepaired severe birth tear due to a failure of diagnosis, call Glynns Solicitors.

We are a specialist medical negligence legal practice with considerable expertise in pursing compensation claims for severe birth tears and one of our team of specialist lawyers will be very happy to talk to you.

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

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