If you have been told that you have suffered an OASI, you may be wondering exactly what that is. This article tries to clarify what an OASI is and how it differs from other perineal injuries.
Childbirth perineal injuries
When a woman gives birth, she is likely to tear around the vaginal area during the birth of the baby.
The area that is most likely to suffer damage is the skin and muscle between the vagina and the anus – the area called the perineum.
For a small percentage of women – thought to be between 4 and 10% – a more severe injury may occur and these are described by The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists as obstetric anal sphincter injuries or OASIs.
Obstetric Anal Sphincter Injuries
Obstetric anal sphincter injuries are injuries during childbirth which cause damage to the woman’s anal muscles as well as to the perineum.
These injuries are further classified according to how much damage they do to the woman:
- A third degree tear will injure the external and possibly the internal sphincter muscles
- A fourth degree tear will additionally injure the internal lining of the anal canal
These injuries are considered to be more severe. They cause more physical damage to the woman, their repair is more complex and requires greater skill, and the symptoms they can cause are more serious and distressing.
The impact of OASIs
The anal sphincter muscles control the movement of the bowel. This means that they are significant in the passing of both wind and faeces.
A woman who has damaged anal sphincter muscles may find it difficult to control her bowel. This may lead to the following symptoms:
- Inability to prevent the passing of wind
- Urgency when needing to go to the toilet
- Leakage of faeces or incontinence
If a severe perineal tear is diagnosed at the time of the birth and competently repaired, it is likely that the woman will make a good recovery.
If the tear is misdiagnosed, however, and a prompt repair does not occur, the woman may suffer extremely distressing symptoms for years.
Suffering a third or fourth degree tear during childbirth is not necessarily negligent but a failure to identify that a severe tear has occurred, leaving the woman to develop long-term symptoms, might well be considered to represent poor quality care.
Speak to a solicitor
If you are suffering with the appalling symptoms of an undiagnosed third or fourth degree tear, you may wish to consider making a claim for compensation for your pain and suffering.
We have supported many women in their claims for compensation for a failure to diagnose or effectively repair their perineal tear and would be happy to discuss your experience with you.
Make A Free Enquiry
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.