An unrepaired 4th degree tear can cause extreme distress and loss of income. A compensation claim might help the woman affected to cope with the physical, psychological and financial problems it causes.
The difficulties associated with a 4th degree tear
A 4th degree tear suffered in vaginal childbirth can be difficult to diagnose. In addition to causing damage to the skin and muscle of the perineum and injuring the external anal sphincter, a 4th degree tear will cause damage to the internal anal sphincter and the lining of the anal canal.
However, diagnosis of such damage is absolutely crucial to the long-term physical and psychological health of the new mother. A failure to diagnose a 4th degree tear will mean that the damage is not repaired and this can severely compromise the functioning of the woman’s bowel.
It can leave the woman with, at best, extreme urgency when needing to go to the toilet or, at worst, both wind and faecal incontinence.
In some cases an unrepaired 4th degree tear can allow a hole to develop between the rectum and the vagina, meaning that the woman will start to leak wind and faeces from her vagina. This is called a rectovaginal fistula.
Understandably, many women who experience such damage find that their lives come to revolve around managing their distressing bowel symptoms. They often feel the need to be constantly close to a toilet which can make leaving the house and going to work extremely difficult.
In addition, many areas of employment, particularly those involving significant amounts of public interaction, can become unmanageable. For example, a teacher or retail worker who has suffered an unrepaired 4th degree tear may find it impossible to return to her former employment.
Diagnosing 4th degree tears
Women who have given birth vaginally should receive a thorough examination after the birth of their baby in order to check for any signs of perineal damage. A digital, rectal examination where the medical practitioner inserts a gloved finger in to the anus to check for damage should also take place.
A new mother who subsequently develops severe, long-term bowel problems due to her 4th degree tear being undiagnosed may be entitled to make a claim for compensation.
If a severe perineal tear, also known as an obstetric anal sphincter injury, is not diagnosed or is misdiagnosed as a less serious injury, the medical professionals involved may be considered to have provided substandard care.
In this instance, the new mother may be able to make a successful claim for her pain and suffering as well as her future loss of earnings and other costs which she would not have incurred had the injury been promptly and effectively diagnosed and repaired.
Speak to a solicitor
Contact us today if you are suffering the appalling long-term effects of an unrepaired 4th degree tear. We have supported numerous women in making compensation claims for just such a situation and would be happy to advise you.
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If you, or your family member, has suffered a birth injury tear, please call us now for free, no obligation advice on 0800 234 3300 (or from a mobile click to call 01275 334030) or complete our Free Online Enquiry.