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Suing the NHS for a Fourth Degree Tear

Suing the NHS for a Fourth Degree Tear

If you have suffered a fourth degree tear during childbirth which was either misdiagnosed or poorly repaired, you may wish to make a claim for compensation for your on-going symptoms and their impact on your life.

Fourth degree tear symptoms

A fourth degree tear needs to be accurately diagnosed as soon after the birth of a baby as possible. It then requires a high-standard repair at the hands of a skilled practitioner in an operating theatre. It is not an injury which can be repaired by the midwife in the maternity suite.

If such an injury is not correctly identified, the long-term impact on the new mother can be destructive and distressing:

  • She may suffer extreme urgency when needing the toilet or experience uncontrolled leakage of faeces due to the failure of the anal muscles to control bowel activity
  • She may also experience the passing of uncontrolled wind
  • If she has developed a fistula between the inside of the anus and the vagina, it is possible that she will leak faeces from the vagina, a highly-distressing symptom
  • She may suffer repeated perineal infections due to leakage of faeces

Medical negligence

Recognising that the understanding and diagnosis of severe birth tears has been inadequate, there has been considerable effort made to improve the diagnosis of these devastating injuries.

The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists has introduced a 'care bundle' which emphasises the need for an examination of the rectum following the birth of a baby in order to ensure that any anal damage is not missed.

If a medical professional who is responsible for the care of the mother at the birth of her child fails to carry out such an assessment, leaving the mother with an undiagnosed severe 3rd or 4th degree tear, they may be regarded as having provided substandard care. If the woman subsequently suffers debilitating and life-changing symptoms, it may be appropriate to make a compensation claim.

Long-term impact of an unrepaired 4th degree tear

If a woman is suffering uncontrolled leakage of wind and faeces, her life can become very difficult.

Understandably, she may be anxious about the possibility of suffering a bowel accident and this can impact on her social life, her working life and her ability to care for her children.

Her ability to earn an income can be restricted by her symptoms and a successful compensation claim can provide recompense for this.

Speak to a solicitor

If you are suffering the appalling symptoms of a 4th degree tear due to failings by your medical professionals, contact Glynns today.

We have supported numerous women in making successful claims for mismanaged severe birth 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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"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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