A failure to assess and diagnose anal damage following the birth of a child can blight the life of the mother and lead to significant claim for compensation for pain, suffering and on-going losses.
Childbirth anal injuries
The pressure of giving birth can sometimes cause significant damage to the anus of the woman giving birth. The nature of the damage can vary according to the individual and the effects of the damage can likewise vary.
Medical professionals attending a woman giving birth need to be able to diagnose any such damage with precision and accuracy in order to ensure that any subsequent surgical repair is full, appropriate and competent.
The impact of anal injury
A failure to identify the location and type of injury suffered can leave the mother with a range of highly-distressing long-term symptoms including the following:
- Inability to prevent the passing of wind from the anus
- Inability to prevent the passing of faeces from the anus
- Extreme urgency when needing the toilet
- Leakage of wind and/or faeces via the vagina
- Repeated infections
- Psychological distress
Not surprisingly, many women find that this is accompanied by a significant loss of confidence, a severe restriction in ability to work and a dramatic impact on personal and social life.
Diagnosing anal injuries
The various types of anal injury have been carefully described by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists and it is imperative that midwives and obstetricians have adequate training in this field to be able to diagnose the injury with pinpoint accuracy.
- Third degree tears cause damage to the anal sphincter – possibly internal as well as external – in addition to damaging the perineum
- Fourth degree tears additionally damage the anal mucosa, or lining of the internal anal canal
- A rectal buttonhole tear damages the rectal mucosa but leaves the anal sphincter intact
If these injuries are misdiagnosed, it is possible that two things may occur:
- Part of the injury may not be repaired at all
- The nature of the repair may be inappropriate to the type of damage
If these injuries are not diagnosed at all, there will be no repair until the woman begins to suffer appalling symptoms of faecal incontinence.
If a 4th degree tear or a buttonhole tear are not thoroughly and competently repaired, it is possible that the woman may develop a rectovaginal fistula, allowing wind and faeces to escape via her vagina instead of her anus.
A failure to diagnose and/or accurately and fully repair anal damage following the birth of a child, can be regarded as medical negligence.
If you are suffering with the depressing and debilitating effects of a misdiagnosed anal injury following the birth of your child, contact us to discuss the possibility of making a claim for compensation.
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If you, or your family member, has suffered a birth injury tear, please call us now for free, no obligation advice on 0800 234 3300 (or from a mobile click to call 01275 334030) or complete our Free Online Enquiry.