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Claiming Compensation for 3rd Degree Tear Misdiagnosis

Claiming Compensation for 3rd Degree Tear Misdiagnosis

Misdiagnosis of a 3rd degree birth tear can produce a pretty catastrophic long-term outcome for the woman affected and may justify a claim for compensation.

Severe birth tears

A 3rd degree birth tear or perineal tear causes a serious injury to the anal sphincter and needs to be diagnosed accurately and promptly in order to ensure that the woman undergoes the appropriate surgery as soon as possible.

The anal sphincter is the internal and external muscles which combine to allow a woman to control the function of the bowel. It both allows and prevents the opening of the bowel in order for either wind or faeces to pass through. An effective functioning bowel is essential to the maintenance of health.

An injury to the anal sphincter can limit the control which the woman has over the passing of wind and faeces and can cause considerable physical, practical, psychological and financial problems.


Most women undergo a thorough and competent examination of the perineum following the birth of their baby and receive an accurate diagnosis of any damage they have suffered. Occasionally, however, the standard of care is less rigorous and a severe injury can be missed:

  • An inadequate examination may fail to reveal that the anal sphincter has been damaged at all and the woman may be told that she has only suffered a 1st or 2nd degree tear. This will lead to an inadequate repair, leaving the most severe level of injury unresolved. A severe 3rd or 4th degree tear requires the attention of a skilled surgeon and a misdiagnosis may mean that this does not happen.
  • Anal sphincter damage may be observed but a failure to carry out a digital rectal examination may mean that the extent of the injury is not fully realised. The woman may be informed that she has suffered a 3a tear, meaning that only the external anal sphincter has been damaged. In fact, she may have suffered a 3c tear with the internal sphincter also suffering an injury. Without diagnosis, this aspect of the injury may not be repaired, leaving the woman to suffer symptoms of urgency and incontinence.

Medical negligence

If the medical professionals attending a vaginal birth fail to diagnose any perineal and anal damage accurately, they may be regarded as having provided a negligent standard of care.

If the new mother suffers significant, long-term bowel problems as a result, it might be appropriate to make a claim for compensation.

Speak to a solicitor

Contact Glynns Solicitors if you are suffering severe, on-going bowel symptoms due to a failure to diagnose your birth tear correctly.

We have supported numerous women in making highly-successful compensation claims for undiagnosed and unrepaired anal sphincter damage and one of our specialist solicitors will be very 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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