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Can I Get Compensation for an Anal Injury during Childbirth?

Can I Get Compensation for an Anal Injury during Childbirth?

Anal injuries are thought to occur to as many as 10% of women undergoing vaginal childbirth. It is not necessarily a sign of negligence but, if it is not repaired adequately, the long-term implications can be severe. A claim for compensation may then be an appropriate way forward.

What is an anal injury?

An anal injury which occurs during childbirth is a tear to the skin and muscle which surrounds and controls the opening of the bowel. An anal injury of this type is also described as a 3rd or 4th degree tear depending on the extent of the damage. Third degree tears damage the anal sphincter (potential both internal and external) whereas a 4th degree tear also damages the lining of the anal canal.

Both forms of damage are likely to cause bowel problems ranging from urgency to incontinence.

Why do they occur?

Essentially, a perineal tear during childbirth happens because of the pressure put on the vagina and surrounding skin and muscle as the baby is born. There are particular circumstances, however, where a severe tear and associated anal damage is more likely to occur.

  • A woman who is giving birth vaginally for the first time is more susceptible to suffering a severe perineal tear than a woman who has already given birth that way
  • A woman who is giving birth to a heavier baby is also more likely to suffer a severe tear. If the baby suffers 'shoulder dystocia' during the birth and becomes stuck behind the mother's pubic bone, a severe tear is again more likely
  • A woman who has required an instrumental birth, especially when forceps are used, is more likely to suffer a severe tear than a woman who gives birth without
  • A woman who undergoes an instrumental birth without a prior episiotomy is more likely to suffer a severe tear

Medical negligence

It is unlikely to be appropriate to pursue a compensation claim if you have suffered an anal injury which has been repaired. If you now suffer few if any symptoms, it is unlikely that your medical professionals will be regarded as having been negligent.

However, if your anal injury was not diagnosed, leading to an inadequate repair (or no repair) and significant on-going symptoms, a successful compensation claim might help you to cope with the effects of your symptoms such as financial loss.

Speak to a solicitor

Contact Glynns Solicitors if you believe that your severe bowel symptoms are due to substandard medical care.

We have supported numerous women in making compensation claims for failing to diagnose or repair their anal injury and will be happy to advise you.

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

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"Before we contacted you we had no real idea that we had grounds for a medical negligence claim but after speaking to you if became clear that Wendy was indeed treated poorly. Chris took the time to explain what was happening and kept us to speed. Our deepest gratitude to you all and Chris in particular."

"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."

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