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Compensation for an Anal Sphincter Tear

Compensation for an Anal Sphincter Tear

If you suffered an anal sphincter tear during the birth of your baby, it is to be hoped that you underwent surgery for this injury and are now recovering. If this was not the case, however, and you are suffering long-term bowel symptoms, it may be possible to make a claim for compensation.

An anal sphincter tear is a highly distressing impact of a vaginal birth. Only a few women suffer this unpleasant injury but its long-term symptoms can be both shocking and debilitating if it is not competently and promptly managed by medical staff.

What is an anal sphincter injury?

An anal sphincter injury is a perineal tear which occurs when a baby emerges through the vagina. In most women, nay injury at this time will be fairly small and limited to the skin and muscle of the perineum, the region between the vagina and the anus.

For a few unfortunate women, however, the tear may spread further and cause damage to the anal sphincter. These are the muscles which control the bowel.

Anal sphincter injuries are also known as third and fourth degree tears and are classified according to the amount of damage they cause.

Third degree tears are diagnosed as follows:

  • A 3a tear is where less than 50% of the external anal sphincter has been damaged
  • A 3b tear is where more than 50% of the external sphincter has been damaged
  • A 3c tear is where the internal anal sphincter has also been damaged

A fourth degree tear additionally causes damage to the internal lining of the anal canal and can lead to the development of a fistula, or hole, between the anus and the vagina if it is not repaired promptly by a skilled surgeon.

Symptoms of an anal sphincter injury

A woman who has suffered an anal sphincter injury is likely to experience some or all of the following symptoms:

  • Inability to control the passing of wind
  • Urgency when needing to go to the toilet
  • Leakage of faeces from the anus
  • Leakage of wind and faeces from the vagina
  • Discomfort during sexual intercourse
  • Infections of the perineum

If the woman does not receive a diagnosis and repair, or only receives a poor quality repair, she may continue to suffer these symptoms for the rest of her life.

These symptoms can, understandably, cause a dramatic impact on the woman's life and her ability to work.

Medical negligence

If medical professionals have failed to diagnose or repair an anal sphincter injury, causing the woman to suffer these long-term symptoms, it may be appropriate to make a claim for compensation.

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

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