No Examination After Delivery – Now I Have 3rd Degree Tear
If you were not examined after you gave birth to your child and you have now been told that you have a 3rd degree tear, you will be the victim of medical negligence.
It is not acceptable to miss a 3rd degree tear. Such injuries should be detected post-delivery with an examination.
If you need not have an examination and your tear was left unrepaired, you need to talk to a solicitor about the options available. It is likely that you will be entitled to pursue a claim for medical negligence.
Examination after giving birth
After giving birth by way of vaginal delivery, a patient should undergo a detailed examination of her vagina, perineum and anal sphincter. An examination is particularly needed if there is a high chance the patient suffered a tear – for instance, because she had an assisted delivery.
During this examination, the medical practitioner should also insert a finger into the anus to check for sphincter damage. Third degree tears involve the anal sphincter complex, so it will not be possible to diagnose the injury without performing a digital rectal examination.
The clinician doing the examination should be competent enough to recognise any perineal tears and classify the injury correctly. Indeed, there are varying degrees of perineal tear. A 3rd degree tear involves the vaginal tissue, perineal tissue, perineal muscle and external anal sphincter.
Examination after the repair
If a 3rd degree tear is diagnosed, a patient should be taken to theatre for a repair. The repair will be done by a surgeon, not a midwife.
After the injury has been sutured, another examination should be performed to ensure the full length of the tear has been repaired. This is important as it is the only way to check the defect in the sphincter has been sutured.
No examination – missed 3rd degree tear
If an examination was not done after a vaginal delivery and a woman has a 3rd degree tear, she will soon begin to experience issues such as faecal urgency and incontinence. Often this results in an accurate diagnosis eventually being made, although it can take weeks, months or even years to achieve – especially if the patient is too embarrassed to speak to a medical practitioners.
Additionally, if an examination is not carried out after a repair, it is possible that a defect remains in the sphincter. This will be classed as a poor repair, and again the patient will soon begin to suffer problems with urgency and incontinence.
It is not acceptable to miss a 3rd degree tear or to perform an inadequate repair. If this has happened to you, you could be eligible for compensation. Contact us to find out more.