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Can I Make a Claim for a Third Degree Tear?

Can I Make a Claim for a Third Degree Tear?

Depending on the medical management of your third degree tear at the time it occurred and the extent to which you are still experiencing symptoms, it may be appropriate to make a claim for compensation.

What is a third degree tear?

A third degree tear is an injury which damages the skin and muscle from the vagina across to the anus during vaginal childbirth. It is a more severe injury than 1st and 2nd degree tears because it damages the muscles which control the opening of the bowel, the anal sphincter muscles. This means that, if it is not competently repaired, it can cause incontinence of both wind and faeces.

How should it be managed?

A third degree tear needs to be repaired promptly after it has occurred. This means an accurate diagnosis is required. In order for this to happen, the new mother needs to undergo a thorough examination of her perineum and anus to check for any damage.

If an injury is identified it should be accurately classified according to the guidelines of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists. This should ensure a full repair.

How should it be repaired?

A third degree tear is a severe injury. It should be repaired promptly by a skilled and experienced surgeon in an operating theatre. This also applies to a fourth degree tear which additionally damages the internal lining of the anal canal. If either of these injuries remains unrepaired, the woman affected is likely to suffer long-term symptoms of anal incontinence which can be both distressing and debilitating.

Medical Negligence

Medical professionals may be considered to have been negligent if a severe perineal tear is not managed correctly.

  • If a severe tear is not diagnosed at all
  • If the tear is misdiagnosed as a lesser tear and therefore receives an inadequate repair
  • If the tear is accurately diagnosed but the repair is incompetent in some way, leaving the woman with on-going symptoms.

Making a claim

It is important to bear in mind that it is not necessarily negligent to suffer a third degree tear during childbirth. Also, if your third degree tear was effectively repaired, it is unlikely to be appropriate to make a claim for compensation.

If, however, you are suffering long-term and debilitating symptoms because of poor management of your injury, such as a misdiagnosis or a poor repair, you may be entitled to make a compensation claim.

Contacting a solicitor

Here at Glynns Solicitors, we have supported numerous women in making compensation claims for poorly-managed severe tear.

Contact us today to talk to a specialist medical negligence solicitor about your situation.

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

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