It is possible for the anal sphincter to tear during childbirth. This is a serious injury that must be repaired shortly after the birth by a qualified surgeon.
If your anal sphincter tore during birth and it was not diagnosed and repaired, you could be eligible to claim compensation. Contact us today to find out more.
Torn anal sphincter
It is natural to tear during childbirth. For most women this tear will only involve the perineum. However, for around 9% of women in the UK, this tear will extend down into the anal sphincter complex. These are called 3rdand 4th degree tears.
3rd degree tears involve the external anal sphincter, while 4th degree tears go one step further and involve both the external and internal anal sphincter.
Whether it is a 3rd or 4th degree tear, the injury has to be repaired not long after the birth. There are certain guidelines that must be adhered to regarding this repair. Most importantly, it should be conducted in theatre by a qualified surgeon – normally a gynaecologist or colorectal surgeon.
Torn anal sphincter not repaired
Unfortunately sometimes a torn anal sphincter is left unrepaired – normally because medical practitioners fail to make a diagnosis. A missed tear might happen because a proper examination is not performed after the birth, or because the clinician carrying out the examination did not display an acceptable level of competence.
A torn anal sphincter that is left unrepaired will have terrible consequences for the patient concerned. Indeed, human beings are dependent upon the anal sphincter to control the passing of wind and faeces. It enables us to defer defecation until an appropriate moment.
If a tear remains in the anal sphincter, this function will be greatly reduced. This will make it very hard for a patient to control the passing of wind and faeces, leading to faecal urgency and incontinence of wind. The individual will therefore find she must remain close to a toilet at all times, or face episodes of faecal incontinence.
What can you do?
Evidently the effects of an unrepaired 3rd or 4th degree tear will be devastating for the patient, and can have upsetting complications emotionally, socially and financially.
If this has happened to you because doctors failed to repair your tear, please get in touch with us and speak to one of our solicitors. You could be entitled to compensation for the suffering you have wrongfully experienced.