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Negligent Fourth Degree Tear Diagnosis

Negligent Fourth Degree Tear Diagnosis

Accurate diagnosis of a fourth degree tear is absolutely crucial to the long-term well-being of a new mother. Failure to diagnose such a severe injury may be regarded as negligent.

Third and fourth degree tears

A fourth degree tear is the most severe form of birth injury.

Third degree tears damage the external and, sometimes, the internal anal sphincter causing the woman to suffer loss of control of her bowels. This can cause both wind and faecal incontinence.

A fourth degree tear will additionally cause damage to the internal lining of the anus. Should this injury remain undiagnosed and unrepaired, it can lead to the development of a fistula between the anus and the woman's vagina.

A fistula is an abnormal hole or passage that can form between the rectum and the vagina. This allows wind and faeces to pass out of the bowel into the vagina and exit the body from there rather than from the anus. Such leakage can be completely uncontrolled and can cause considerable distress and inconvenience to the woman concerned.

The importance of diagnosis

Diagnosis of a fourth degree tear requires extreme care and diligence. Without such an approach to the examination of a woman after childbirth, this injury can either be completely missed or it can be misdiagnosed as a lesser tear.

Whilst a third degree tear can be extremely debilitating, a 3a or 3b tear will cause damage to the external sphincter only, whereas a fourth degree tear causes additional internal damage as mentioned above. Consequently, if a 3a or 3b tear is diagnosed instead of a 4th degree tear, an entire area of damage may be missed during repair.

Medical negligence

A third degree tear repair for a fourth degree injury is not good quality care. If the woman concerned suffers debilitating symptoms as a result of her missed fourth degree tear, it may be appropriate to make a claim for compensation.

If she suffers financial losses in addition to her pain and suffering, a successful compensation claim can help to recover those losses.

Many women who suffer a fourth degree tear which remains unrepaired experience considerable on-going restrictions in their confidence and ability to work, travel and bring up their children.

Speak to a solicitor

If you are suffering the shocking impact of an unrepaired 4th degree tear because of a failure to diagnose your injury accurately, contact Glynns Solicitors today to talk to a specialist medical negligence solicitor.

We have supported numerous women in making highly-successful compensation claims for undiagnosed and unrepaired birth tears and will be very happy to help you.

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

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