A third degree tear should be diagnosed and treated shortly after the delivery of a baby, before a woman is discharged from hospital. If there is a failure to do so, there may be grounds for a medical negligence claim.
Detecting tears after birth
After a woman has given birth vaginally, she must assessed for perineal and sphincter trauma. This is to ensure that any obstetric tears are detected without too much of a delay. This assessment should involve a visual examination, and a vaginal and rectal examination.
Indeed, it is important to perform a careful vaginal and rectal examination as this is the only way to exclude a third or fourth degree tear. Inspection alone can be inadequate and a third or fourth degree tear can be missed if a proper vaginal and rectal examination is not carried out.
Failure to diagnose
Unfortunately, however, there are times when a woman will leave hospital with an undiagnosed third degree tear. This usually happens for one of two reasons. Either a thorough examination is carried out but the medical practitioner does not recognise the injury; or a rectal examination is not done and so the damaged sphincter remains unidentified.
Both these situations will amount to medical negligence because a midwife or obstetrician should be competent enough to diagnose a perineal tear. Furthermore a rectal examination should always be performed after a vaginal delivery.
Many women who have missed third degree tears are told that had a rectal examination been performed, the third degree tear would have been diagnosed and a repair would have been conducted in the operating theatre by an experienced surgeon. This would have prevented any complications from occurring. This might include, for example, incontinence of faeces and flatus (wind).
Contact us today
If you began to experience problems after having given birth and you have now been diagnosed with a third degree tear – but this was previously missed – you should contact a solicitor to discuss your options.
This is because it is very likely that you are the innocent victim of medical negligence, meaning you suffered unnecessary harm because of medical incompetence. You would therefore be entitled to pursue a claim against the hospital in question, giving you the chance to obtain compensation. This would recompense for the pain and suffering you endured, and your recover your financial losses.
To find out more about claiming compensation for a missed third degree tear, get in touch with us today.
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