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Making a Claim for a Severe Tear after Forceps Delivery

Making a Claim for a Severe Tear after Forceps Delivery

A forceps delivery, where the baby is helped to make its way out of the birth passage, is a known risk factor for a severe perineal tear. Where the resulting injury is not treated, it may be appropriate to make a claim for compensation.

Instrumental deliveries

Instrumental deliveries in childbirth are sometimes considered to be necessary when labour has continued for a long period of time and where medical professionals consider there may be some difficulty in the baby being born.

An instrumental delivery may make use of either a ventouse or vacuum cap, or forceps which are placed on either side of the baby's head and used to encourage the rest of the baby's body to come through the vagina.

Instrumental deliveries increase the chance that the mother will suffer a severe perineal tear. By this we mean a 3rd or 4th degree tear which damages the anal sphincter muscles which control the bowel.

The role of the episiotomy

It is recommended by The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists that, when an instrumental delivery is thought to be necessary, consideration should also be given to the need for an episiotomy. This is where a deliberate cut is made to the skin around the vagina to ease the baby's passage and reduce the likelihood of the mother suffering a severe tear.

It is further recommended that, should an episiotomy be considered an appropriate course of action, it should be a medio-lateral cut rather than a midline cut, to try to prevent severe tearing.

If these guidelines are not followed when it would generally have been considered good quality care to do so, the relevant medical professional may be considered to have acted negligently.

Should the mother suffer a severe 3rd or 4th degree tear as a result, it is crucial that this is accurately diagnosed at the time of the birth and thoroughly and competently repaired.

Medical negligence

A failure to either diagnose or repair anal sphincter damage can leave the mother with permanent bowel problems, such as wind and faecal incontinence.

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

Unrepaired severe birth tears can impact on the woman's ability to work and negatively affect her self-confidence. As a consequence, her earning power may be reduced and she may be restricted in many aspects of life. A successful compensation claim may help to deal with the associated problems.

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Contact Glynns today to talk to a specialist medical negligence solicitor with expertise in supporting birth tear claims.

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

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