If you had a midline episiotomy while giving birth and this materially contributed towards you suffering a third degree tear, you could be entitled to claim compensation. This is because midline episiotomies are no longer carried out in the UK and are deemed substandard practice.
Third degree tear risk factors
First vaginal delivery, a large baby, forceps delivery and prolonged labour are known risk factors for a third degree tear. A midline episiotomy will also material contribute towards a third degree tear.
It is for this reason that midline episiotomies are no longer permitted in the UK. Instead, the medical practitioner must make a mediolateral episiotomy, whereby a diagonal cut is made, rather than a cut that goes straight downwards.
Mediolateral episiotomies have significantly reduced the rate of third degree tears in the UK.
For example, in other countries such as the USA where midline episiotomies are routinely practised, the 3rd/4th degree tear rate is close to 20% in women having their first vaginal delivery.
In the UK, the recommended type of episiotomy is mediolateral and it has been shown that there is a 50% reduction in risk of sustaining a third degree tear for every six degrees away from the midline.
Midline episiotomy and medical negligence
If a midline episiotomy is performed on a patient in the UK, the standard of care will be considered unacceptable. If this substandard care causes a patient to develop a third or fourth degree tear, there will be grounds for a medical negligence claim. If this has happened to you, you need to speak to a solicitor about your options.
Can I make a claim?
At first you may not be aware that you were given a midline episiotomy. You can tell by looking at your scar, which will run straight down from the vaginal opening towards your anus. It may also be recorded in your medical notes, or a doctor may advise that you have had a midline episiotomy.
If you have had a midline episiotomy and you have also sustained a third degree tear, there is a good chance that medical practitioners can be blamed for your injuries. To find out for certain, you need to talk to a solicitor who specialises in third degree tear claims.
Speak to a solicitor today
To find out if you are entitled to claim compensation for a third degree tear, please call us now on 0800 234 3300 (or from a mobile click to call 01275 334030) or complete our Free Online Enquiry with us today.