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Fourth Degree Tear Medical Negligence

Fourth Degree Tear Medical Negligence

A fourth degree tear is the most severe form of perineal trauma during vaginal childbirth. If it is not effectively managed by medical professionals and the woman is left with long-term bowel problems, it may be appropriate to make a claim for compensation.

Fourth degree tears

A fourth degree tear causes significant and debilitating damage to the bowel function of the woman affected. A fourth degree tear during childbirth causes a tear to extend from the vagina, across the perineum, through both the external and internal sphincter and additionally affecting the internal lining of the anal canal.

It can also cause a fistula or passage to open up between the rectum and the vagina causing leakage of wind and faeces through the vagina.

The impact of these symptoms can have a devastating effect on a woman's daily life, her ability to work and her confidence. The financial implications can also be significant if the woman is unable to continue her previous employment.


This is where a successful compensation claim can make a big difference. Symptoms of bowel incontinence can make it very difficult to undertake many forms of employment and may have a significant impact on a woman's income.

A compensation claim can provide recompense for the woman's pain, and suffering but also for any associated financial losses.

Medical management of fourth degree tears

All women who have given birth vaginally should undergo a thorough check for any sign of perineal or anal damage.

Particular care should be taken with those women who fall into the greater 'at-risk' categories for a severe perineal tear. This would include the following:

  • Women who are giving birth vaginally for the first time
  • Women who are giving birth to a large baby
  • Where the baby has got stuck behind the pubic bone
  • Where an instrumental delivery was necessary
  • Women of Asian ethnicity

An accurate diagnosis of perineal and anal damage should ensure that an effective repair is undertaken in an operating theatre under an anaesthetic.

If repair or diagnosis are not achieved due to substandard medical care, the woman affected may find that she suffers permanent and debilitating bowel problems. In these circumstances the medical professionals who had been responsible for her care at the birth may be regarded as having been negligent and it might be appropriate to make a claim for compensation.

Speak to a solicitor

If you are struggling with the appalling bowel problems associated with an unrepaired fourth degree tear, contact Glynns Solicitors today.

We have supported many women in making high-value compensation claims and one of your specialist team will be very happy to talk to you.

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

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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."

"I would like to say a big thank you to you for making this whole process easy and relatively painless. You kept me informed throughout and you were always polite and courteous in all forms of communication. I would not hesitate to recommend you to friends and family, so a really big thank you and I wish you all the best in the future."

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