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Compensation for Third Degree Tear Diagnosis Negligence

Compensation for Third Degree Tear Diagnosis Negligence

An accurate diagnosis of perineal trauma during vaginal childbirth is vital to the new mother's well-being. A failure to diagnose correctly may leave her with a severe unrepaired and debilitating injury to her bowel muscles.

Perineal birth tears

Perineal trauma during vaginal childbirth is not uncommon. Severe perineal and anal trauma is much rarer but the long-term consequences can be far more serious. Unless accurately diagnosed and correctly repaired, the new mother may face a miserable future of bowel dysfunction.

When a woman has given birth vaginally, it is essential that she undergoes a thorough perineal and anal assessment in order to identify any trauma as a result to the birth.


If any injury has occurred, it must be diagnosed accurately. This means that it should be identified with one of the following classifications:

  • 1st degree tear affecting the skin on the perineum between the vagina and anus
  • 2nd degree tear damaging the skin and muscles between the perineum and anus
  • 3a tear affecting the perineum and less than 50% of the external anal sphincter muscle
  • 3b tear affecting more than 50% of the external anal sphincter
  • 3c tear affecting both the external and internal anal sphincter
  • 4th degree tear additionally affecting the anal mucosa (lining of the anal canal).
  • A buttonhole tear which damages the anal mucosa without damaging the anal sphincter

The difference between the less severe and the more severe birth tears is such that a misdiagnosis can cause the new mother permanent and debilitating bowel dysfunction.

An accurate diagnosis followed by a competent repair can bring about complete recovery.

A misdiagnosis followed by an ineffective repair or no repair at all can leave the new mother with permanent bowel symptoms.


A failure to assess for severe 3rd and 4th degree tears may be regarded as negligent care. A misdiagnosis of a severe tear as a lesser tear may also be regarded as negligent.

A diagnosis of a 3rd degree tear as a 2nd degree tear will leave the most significant part of the injury unrepaired, causing wind and faecal incontinence.

In such circumstances, it may be appropriate to make a claim for compensation.

Speak to a solicitor

If you are struggling with the appalling long-term impact of a severe 3rd or 4th degree birth tear due to a misdiagnosis of your injury, contact Glynns Solicitors.

We are a medical negligence legal practice with considerable experience of perineal tear claims. Call us today to talk to one of our team of specialist solicitors who will be very happy to discuss your situation with you.

Please call us on 0800 234 3300 (or from a mobile 01275 334030) or complete our Online Enquiry Form.

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