If your 3rd degree tear has only just been diagnosed and it is months or years after you gave birth, you could be entitled to claim compensation.
A failure to recognise and repair a 3rd degree tear shortly after the birth will be considered negligent. If you have been harmed because of this substandard level of care, you will be the innocent victim of medical negligence. Contact us for more information.
Symptoms after childbirth
When a 3rd degree tear is not diagnosed and repaired, it will ordinarily cause the woman to develop symptoms such as faecal urgency, as well as incontinence of flatus and faeces (particularly if the stool is loose).
Many women believe such symptoms to be normal in the aftermath of childbirth. However, when these problems do not settle down she may be prompted to seek advice from her GP. Ordinarily this will lead to the patient being referred on to specialists for further testing to see whether an underlying injury is present – such as a 3rd degree tear.
Subsequent investigations for 3rd degree tear
A patient who remains symptomatic after birth will often be referred by her GP to a colorectal surgeon. The colorectal surgeon will examine the perineal area to test perineal sensation. A digital rectal examination will also be conducted to check for a short anal sphincter, and to check the resting pressure/squeeze pressure of the anal sphincters.
Next the patient may be sent for tests at a physiology unit. This might involve an endo-anal ultrasound scan and/or anorectal physiology testing.
An endo-anal ultrasound scan will reveal any defects in the external anal sphincter. This is useful in determining the extent of the disruption, enabling medical practitioners to better identify the type of injury present. For example, the complete disruption of the external sphincter is classified as a 3b tear.
Anorectal physiology testing will demonstrate the anal canal pressures including squeeze pressures and ability to maintain a squeeze. This will reveal the level of functionality in the anal sphincter complex. For example, whether resting pressures, squeeze pressures, 5-second squeeze increments and involuntary squeeze increments are normal.
3rd degree tear recently diagnosed
These investigations will verify whether or not a patient has an underlying 3rd degree tear. If a 3rd degree tear is diagnosed, it means that the injury was not originally detected shortly after the birth, as it should be. Alternatively it may mean that a poor repair was carried out.
If you have only recently been diagnosed with a 3rd degree tear despite the fact you gave birth some time ago, you need to talk to a lawyer. You could be eligible to pursue a claim for compensation. To talk to a solicitor, contact us today.