Obstetric perineal trauma is common when giving birth vaginally. For the best outcome, the tear needs to be diagnosed and repaired at the time of injury. If there is a failure to provide this standard of care, there may be a case of medical negligence and the patient will be entitled to claim compensation.
Obstetric anal sphincter injuries
The least severe types of tear involve the vagina and perineum. These are called first and second degree tears. The most severe types of perineal tear involve the vagina, perineum and anal sphincter complex. These are called third and fourth degree tears.
Any form of obstetric perineal trauma should be identified at the time of injury and an appropriate repair performed. If this is not done, it can lead to ongoing issues for the patient. This is especially true of third and fourth degree tears, which can cause faecal incontinence if not repaired properly.
In fact, obstetric anal sphincter injury is the number one cause of incontinence in women. What happens is that the anal sphincter, which enables us to defer defecation until we reach a toilet, is damaged. This makes it difficult to prevent the passing of a stool when the need arises.
To stop such complications arising due to obstetric anal sphincter injury, the tear must be recognised after childbirth and a repair carried out. This repair should be conducted by an experienced surgeon. Follow-up assessments should be arranged and any problems managed.
With this care, there is a good chance the patient will not develop faecal incontinence. There is a risk that issues will arise, but the best outcomes are undoubtedly those who undergo an immediate repair.
Failure to recognise obstetric anal sphincter injury
Obstetric anal sphincter injuries are a common source of litigation in England and Wales. Such claims come about because medical practitioners have not diagnosed and repaired a severe perineal tear to an acceptable standard.
These mistakes cause a patient to develop incontinence, which is of course a devastating symptom that can affect someone’s ability to work, socialise, exercise, have sexual intercourse and even care for children.
There will be grounds for a claim because these problems would have been avoided, or at least limited, had better medical care been given.
Talk to a lawyer
For more information on claiming compensation for incontinence after childbirth, please get in touch with our friendly team of solicitors today. We will advise you of your options.