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Compensating 4th Degree Tears and Fistulas in Vaginal Childbirth

Compensating 4th Degree Tears and Fistulas in Vaginal Childbirth

A 4th degree tear and a rectovaginal fistula is a pretty awful, as well as debilitating, result of vaginal childbirth. Contact Glynns Solicitors today if your injuries are due to poor medical care.

4th degree tears

A 4th degree tear is the most severe form of perineal trauma during vaginal childbirth. Extending from the vagina, across the perineum, through both the external and internal anal muscles as well as the lining of the anal canal, a fourth degree tear impacts dramatically on a woman's capacity to control her bowel.

The external and internal muscles, or anal sphincter, work to prevent the unintentional passing of wind and faeces as well as allowing defecation when the individual chooses. Consequently, a loss of function of the anal sphincter means that this control is lost and the woman may pass both wind and faeces accidentally.

Furthermore, if the injury is not accurately diagnosed or the damage is not repaired, a fistula (an abnormal passage between the rectum and the vagina) can develop, leaving the new mother with even more distressing symptoms. A fistula can allow wind and faeces to pass from the bowel through to the vagina from where it can leak uncontrollably.

Management of severe birth tears

As evidence suggests that the incidence of severe perineal tears may be on the increase, so too are attempts to prevent the occurrence and poor medical management of these debilitating childbirth injuries.

However, misdiagnoses and a complete failure to diagnose continue to occur and women continue to suffer the consequences.

Unfortunately, the consequences of an unrepaired fourth degree tear can be utterly miserable and life-changing:

  • Extreme urgency when needing the toilet
  • Inability to prevent the passing of wind and faeces
  • The need for a stoma
  • Infections of the perineum

Practically and psychologically the impact can be severe, causing severe distress as well as restricting the areas of employment open to the woman affected by these symptoms.

A misdiagnosis of perineal and anal trauma following vaginal childbirth is most likely to occur due to either inadequate training and knowledge, or a failure to carry out a thorough examination of the new mother following the birth of her baby.

In either instance, the relevant medical professional is likely to be regarded as having provided substandard care.

If the new mother suffers long-term distressing and debilitating symptoms, it may be appropriate to make a claim for compensation.

Speak to a solicitor

Glynns Solicitors are specialists in medical negligence compensation claims. We have supported numerous women in making highly-successful claims for the poor-quality care they suffered during childbirth. We fully understand the distress and disability these injuries can cause and will be very happy to talk to you 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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"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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