If the NHS failed to detect and treat your 3rd degree tear, you could be entitled to pursue a medical negligence claim. For more information on suing the NHS, please get in touch with us today.
3rd degree tears and 4th degree tears
A 3rd degree tear is a type of perineal injury sustained during a vaginal delivery. A 3rd degree tear involves the perineal skin, perineal muscle, vaginal tissue and the anal sphincter.
Because it involves the anal sphincter, a 3rd degree tear is deemed to be a severe injury that requires specialist surgical repair. It is not acceptable for a midwife to suture the tear. Rather, an experienced surgeon must repair the injury in theatre using dissolvable stitches.
A 3rd degree tear is the second worst type of perineal tear. The worst is a 4th degree tear which is the same as a 3rd degree tear, only the laceration extends into the rectum (deeper inside the anal sphincter complex).
3rd degree tears on the NHS
Both 3rd and 4th degree tears are horrible injuries, but they are accepted risks of childbirth. Therefore if you sustain a 3rd degree tear while giving birth in an NHS hospital, it does not mean that you have been the victim of medical negligence.
Claims against the NHS
However, it is true that the NHS faces a significant amount of litigation with regards to 3rd degree tears. These claims do not normally arise because the tear has happened in the first place; as mentioned above, perineal tears are part of childbirth. Instead, 3rd degree tears claims usually occur because the injury was not diagnosed and repaired.
All NHS patients should undergo a thorough examination before being discharged from hospital to ensure the extent of damage is identified. A 3rd degree tear should be diagnosed during the course of this examination. Once the tear is diagnosed, arrangements should be made for a surgeon to repair the wound.
If NHS clinicians fail to provide this standard of care, meaning a 3rd degree tear remains undiagnosed and unrepaired, it is very likely that there will be a case of medical negligence.
Suing the NHS for negligence
Anyone who has been harmed because of medical negligence has a legal right to sue the NHS. If you would like to sue the NHS for a 3rd degree tear, please get in touch with us today.