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Midwife Missed My Birth Tear

Midwife Missed My Birth Tear

The majority of women suffer a tear to the perineum during vaginal childbirth. If this damage is diagnosed and repaired, most women will make a good recovery. If the damage is not noticed, however, a woman can suffer appalling symptoms for the rest of her life.

Perineal damage during childbirth

The perineum is the area between the vagina and the anus. When a baby is born through the vagina, this area comes under pressure to stretch and this can cause a tear.

For most women this is a small tear which can be repaired by the midwife whilst the new mother is still in the maternity suite.

If the tear extends beyond the perineum, however, the damage can be severe and requires a surgical repair by a skilled surgeon in an operating theatre.

Severe perineal damage (3rd and 4th degree tears) injures the muscles which control the bowel and, if this is not effectively repaired, can cause permanent urgency or incontinence of both wind and faeces.

Negligence and perineal tears

Perineal tears occur frequently and are not necessarily a sign of negligence. It may only be appropriate to consider making a claim for compensation for a perineal tear in the following circumstances:

  • A severe tear (3rd or 4th degree) is not diagnosed. This may be either because no perineal or anal examination was carried out after the birth, or because the examination was insufficiently thorough. This would be considered to be substandard care and, if the woman suffered significant long-term problems as a result, would justify a compensation claim.
  • A severe tear could be misdiagnosed. Unless extreme care is taken in examining the new mother, a severe tear could be diagnosed as something less damaging. If a fourth degree tear is diagnosed as a 3a tear, for example, it will mean that any damage to the internal anal sphincter and lining will be missed and not repaired. This can leave the woman with bowel incontinence.
  • Severe damage may be accurately diagnosed but the repair may be substandard. It may only deal with part of the injury or the techniques used may be inappropriate to the location and nature of the damage. If the woman continues to suffer symptoms despite a surgical repair, it may be that part of her injury has been missed. Again, a claim for compensation may be an appropriate way forward.

Speak to a solicitor

If you are struggling with debilitating and distressing bowel symptoms due to an undiagnosed or poorly-repaired perineal tear, contact Glynns today.

We have supported many women in many successful compensation claims for poor management of severe perineal tears and will be very happy to advise you.

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

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