If a perineal tear sustained during childbirth is not repaired, a woman will go on to develop complications. Subsequent treatment can be given, although this might not be entirely effective.
Diagnosing perineal tears
After a vaginal delivery, it is routine practice for a midwife or doctor to perform a thorough examination. The aim of this examination – which includes a vaginal and digital rectal examination – is to identify whether a perineal tear has occurred.
If a first or second degree tear is discovered, the examining midwife or doctor can carry out a repair there and then. This will involve suturing the injury with dissolvable stitches in the delivery suite. If a third or fourth degree tear is diagnosed, a senior doctor should be asked to perform a repair in theatre.
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If you have suffered a perineal tear we advise you to contact us as soon as possible. Please call us now on 0800 234 3300 (or from a mobile click to call 01275 334030) or complete our Free Online Enquiry.
Failing to repair a third or fourth degree tear
It is vitally important a tear is diagnosed and repaired before a woman leaves hospital. This is especially true of third and fourth degree tears which are serious injuries that extend to the anal sphincter.
However, there are times when the examining midwife or doctor fails to spot a third or fourth degree tear, or mistakes it for a more minor tear, meaning a woman is discharged without having been sutured in theatre. Consequently she will be going about her daily life with a torn anal sphincter, something which will of course cause a number of problems.
Complications of unrepaired perineal tears
If a third or fourth degree tear is left unrepaired, it will lead to one or more of the following complications:-
- Perineal pain;
- Pain during sexual intercourse (known medically as dyspareunia);
- Incontinence of flatus (wind);
- Faecal urgency;
- Faecal leakage;
- Faecal incontinence;
- Psychological trauma.
These symptoms often prompt a woman to seek further medical advice, which will hopefully result in the third or fourth degree tear being identified. However, sometimes there can be further delay if a woman is too embarrassed to seek help, or if doctors dismiss the problem, saying such symptoms are normal post-delivery.
Have you suffered an unrepaired perineal tear?
If you have suffered any of the complications listed above because medical professionals did not diagnose and repair your perineal tear after the delivery of your child, you need to talk to a solicitor. This is because you will be considered the innocent victim of medical negligence, for which you deserve to be compensated. To find out more, contact us today.