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Compensation for Misdiagnosed 3rd Degree Tear

Compensation for Misdiagnosed 3rd Degree Tear

It is not uncommon for a third degree tear to be misdiagnosed or missed completely by medical professionals. The long-term impact of such negligence can be life-changing and may justify a claim for compensation.

2nd or 3rd degree tear?

The difference between a second degree tear and a third degree tear is significant, not only in the damage but in the potential long-term effects.

A second degree childbirth tear should only damage the skin and muscle between the vagina and the anus. It should not affect the muscles of the anus at all. Consequently, recovery is usually quick with no long-term effects.

A third degree tear, however, does damage the anal sphincter muscles and, if left unrepaired, can cause permanent loss of bowel control.

If a new mother is diagnosed with a second degree tear when, in fact, she has suffered a third degree tear, it is likely that she will not receive a thorough repair and will be left with symptoms of wind and faecal leakage, urgency or incontinence.


Diagnosis of a severe birth tear, also known as third and fourth degree tears, requires a thorough examination of the perineum after the birth of a baby. This should include a digital, rectal examination to check if the anus has been damaged at all. If this does not happen, severe damage can be missed.

Which 3rd degree tear?

Third degree tears are sub-classified according to how much damage they cause and, again, it is vital that an accurate diagnosis is achieved shortly after the birth of the baby.

A 3a tear will only damage the external anal sphincter muscles whereas a 3c tear will damage both the external and internal muscles. Without an accurate diagnosis, a significant part of the injury may be missed, leaving the woman with highly-distressing symptoms.

Repair of severe perineal tears requires a skilled and experienced surgeon in an operating theatre but, if the diagnosis is incorrect, this quality of repair is unlikely to take place.

Making a compensation claim

If you suffered a third degree tear which was not correctly diagnosed and repaired, you are probably suffering some unpleasant and debilitating symptoms. It is also likely that these are impacting on your quality of life to a significant extent.

If your on-going symptoms are due to a failure by your medical professionals to diagnose you birth tear correctly, it may be appropriate to talk to make a claim for compensation.

Contact Glynns today to talk to a specialist medical negligence solicitor.

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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."

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