If doctors failed to diagnose your third or fourth degree tear and you now have a colostomy, you will be entitled to claim compensation for the terrible impact this has had on your life. Contact us today to find out more.
How does a perineal tear lead to a colostomy?
Third and fourth degree tears are serious injuries that can be sustained by a woman while giving birth vaginally. A third degree tear involves the perineum and the external sphincter, while the fourth degree tear is the same but extends into the internal sphincter. Both are severe lacerations that must be diagnosed and treated without delay if a woman is to make a full recovery.
However, there are times when a woman leaves hospital with her newborn child without having been correctly diagnosed. This means that she has a third or fourth degree tear but both she and the medical professionals treating her are completely unaware that such an injury has occurred. Subsequently she will begin to notice a loss of normal function, with symptoms such as faecal urgency, episodes of faecal incontinence and the inability to control flatus (wind).
Normally these symptoms will prompt a patient to seek advice from a doctor, leading to the third or fourth degree tear eventually being diagnosed. Treatment for the tear can then be provided, but this will be much less effective that if treatment had been given shortly after the delivery. Indeed, it is widely the case that secondary repairs do not produce a very good result in comparison with primary repairs (i.e. a repair that is carried out soon after the delivery).
Therefore it may be that a woman with a missed perineal tear does not regain normal function. If she is suffering faecal incontinence because of the damage to the anal sphincters, a colostomy may be necessary. This will collect faeces in a bag placed on the outside of the body, thereby preventing episodes of faecal incontinence.
Does this amount to negligence?
If a third or fourth degree tear is not diagnosed before a woman is discharged from hospital, the level of medical care will be considered substandard. If this delay in treatment causes a woman to suffer further injury – for example, she goes on to need a colostomy – there will be grounds for a medical negligence compensation claim.
If you have been left with a colostomy as a result of a missed third or fourth degree tear, get in touch with us today to discuss your options.
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