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Compensation for 4th Degree Tear Treated as 2nd Degree

Compensation for 4th Degree Tear Treated as 2nd Degree

Perineal tears during vaginal childbirth require absolutely accurate diagnosis. A failure to achieve this may leave the new mother with shocking symptoms. It may even justify a claim for compensation.

Differing perineal tears

Perineal trauma during vaginal childbirth comes in varying forms. There is a considerable difference between a 4th degree tear and a 2nd degree tear and a failure to identify this difference can cause life-changing symptoms for the new mother.

A 2nd degree tear causes damage to the skin and muscle of the perineum between the vagina and the anus. It does not cause damage to the anus or the muscles which control the bowel. It may be repaired in the maternity ward and the new mother should make a prompt and effective recovery.

A 4th degree tear, however, extends beyond the damage of a 2nd degree to cause injury to the external and internal anal sphincter, the muscles which control the bowel. It additionally damages the internal lining of the anal canal. A 4th degree tear may also cause a fistula or abnormal passage between the rectum and the vagina allowing wind and faeces to escape from the vagina.

Such severe anal damage can limit a woman's capacity to control her bowels and cause her to suffer discomfort and incontinence. Not to mention embarrassment.

Diagnosis of perineal trauma

It is clear, therefore, that an accurate diagnosis of postpartum perineal trauma is crucial. However, unless a thorough examination is carried out after a vaginal birth, it is possible that a severe perineal tear, such as a 3rd or 4th degree tear, will be missed. This will mean no repair is carried out and the new mother may suffer symptoms for a lifetime.

If a 4th degree tear is diagnosed as a 2nd degree tear, it is likely that the damage to the perineum will be repaired but the additional damage to the anal sphincter will not be. The new mother's perineum may recover but she will continue to experience bowel problems which may worsen over time.

Medical negligence

Such an appalling failure in medical assessment and care may be regarded as negligent. If the new mother continues to experience significant problems as a result of the negligence, it might be appropriate to make a claim for compensation.

If you are struggling with the shocking long-term impact of a misdiagnosed 4th degree tear, contact Glynns Solicitors to talk to a specialist medical negligence solicitor about the suitability of making a claim for compensation.

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