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Compensation for Failing to Diagnose a 4th Degree Tear

Compensation for Failing to Diagnose a 4th Degree Tear

A 4th degree tear is the most severe form of perineal tear which can be experienced during vaginal childbirth. A failure by medical professionals to diagnose this horrific injury can justify a claim for compensation for the woman's pain, suffering and on-going problems.

Why do 4th degree tears happen?

A 4th degree tear can occur when a woman gives birth via the vagina rather than with a caesarean section. The pressure on the skin and muscle around the vagina can cause it to stretch and, sometimes, to tear. At its worst, this tear will extend from the vagina, across the perineum, through the external anal sphincter muscle and inside the anus, damaging the internal anal sphincter and the lining of the anal canal.

How is a 4th degree tear diagnosed?

That a 4th degree tear has occurred will not be obvious from a superficial examination or a cursory glance.

A woman requires a digital, rectal examination after the birth of her child in order to be absolutely certain if she has suffered and anal damage.

Medical professionals should pay particularly close attention to first-time mothers and women giving birth to a large baby who are more susceptible to severe birth tears.

A woman who has required instrumental assistance (forceps or ventouse) with her baby's birth is also more likely to suffered a 3rd or 4th degree tear and needs a thorough examination for signs of anal damage.

Medical negligence

If the medical staff attendant at the birth fail to examine the new mother, especially where she is in an 'at risk' category, they may be regarded as having been negligent in their care of the woman.

If the woman did not receive a digital, rectal examination, she may be considered to have received substandard care.

If a woman underwent an instrumental delivery but no episiotomy was carried out, the medical professional in charge of her delivery may be considered to have been negligent as this failure may have contributed to her anal injury.

Speak to a solicitor

A woman whose severe birth tear has not been diagnosed, is likely to be suffering unpleasant and debilitating symptoms such as incontinence of wind and faeces. The physical, psychological, social and financial impact of such symptoms can be significant.

If you are struggling with such symptoms due to a failing in medical care, contact Glynns to talk to a specialist medical negligence solicitor.

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