If your third degree tear was negligently managed by medical practitioners, you need to talk to a solicitor about claiming compensation.
Can I claim for 3rd degree tear?
A 3rd degree tear is a severe perineal injury. It does not happen to every woman who gives birth by way of vaginal delivery. In fact, only around 2% of patients will experience a 3rd degree tear, and around 9% will experience either a third or fourth degree tear.
Therefore a 3rd degree tear is an accepted risk of childbirth. It does not in itself amount to medical negligence. Even so, 3rd degree tears do often lead to a medical negligence claim. This might occur for the following reasons:
1. Substandard medical care caused the tear
If negligent medical practice caused the third degree tear to happen, there may be grounds for a claim. One of the most common examples of this is when a midline episiotomy is performed, rather than a medio-lateral episiotomy. Midline episiotomies are when the cut is made straight downwards, whereas medio-lateral episiotomies are when the cut is made diagonally downwards. Midline episiotomies are no longer acceptable practice in the UK as they are known to increase the risk of a severe tear.
2. The tear was not diagnosed
Third degree tear claims normally arise because of a failure to diagnose. After a vaginal delivery the midwife or doctor should examine the patient to confirm whether a tear is present. This should include a digital rectal examination. If a third degree tear is not diagnosed because an examination was not carried out, or because the clinician failed to spot the tear, there may be grounds for a claim.
3. The tear was not properly repaired
When a 3rd degree tear is diagnosed it must be repaired in theatre by a competent surgeon. If the tear is not repaired by a surgeon, or the repair is of a poor quality, there may be grounds for a claim.
Contact a solicitor
If any of the aforementioned circumstances have affected you, you need to talk to a solicitor about the care you received. Ideally you need to speak to someone who specialises in clinical negligence claims and, if possible, birth injury claims. This will ensure you receive expert legal advice, helping you establish what options are available. If you are told that you have been the victim of medical negligence, you will be entitled to claim compensation for the damages wrongfully incurred.