Perineal tears are a common occurrence during a vaginal delivery and they cannot necessarily be prevented. This may cause expectant mothers some concern, but for the most part a third degree tear will not lead to any undue complications – just so long as the injury is properly managed by medical professionals.
The medical management of a third degree tear should begin soon after the delivery. It is now routine practice for doctors or midwives to perform a genital and a digital rectal examination on all women who have had a vaginal delivery.
This should be done shortly after the birth itself. During this examination, a reasonably competent medical practitioner should be able to detect a perineal tear and say how extensive the damage is. If there is any doubt, advice should be sought from a senior doctor.
Once a third degree tear has been diagnosed, a patient should be taken to theatre and a repair performed by an experienced surgeon. The wound will be sutured together with dissolvable stitches. This will ensure the injury is repaired quickly and effectively, giving a woman the best chance of regaining normal function.
Before being discharged from hospital, a woman should be given antibiotics to prevent the wound from becoming infected, and laxatives to help the passing of stools. Information should also be provided on how aid a recovery – including how to keep the wound clean and types of pelvic floor exercises.
A third degree tear should then be monitored by doctors and midwives during routine check-ups and any problems – such as an infection or wound break-down – quickly identified and treated. If a woman falls pregnant again, discussions should take place regarding the mode of delivery and whether or not it is safe to have another vaginal delivery.
Substandard medical management of third degree tears
If medical professionals do not meet this standard of care, there may be a case of medical negligence. If this causes you to suffer unnecessary complications, you will have the grounds for a compensation claim. Ordinarily a third degree tear claim will occur because a third degree tear was not detected shortly after the delivery – either because an examination was not performed or because of medical incompetence. Claims may also arise due to a poor repair or the failure to diagnose subsequent complications (such as post-operative infection).
If you believe medical practitioners did not manage your third degree tear to an acceptable standard, get in touch with us to discuss making a compensation claim.
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