Compensation claims may be justified when a failure to carry out a routine examination of a new mother after childbirth leads to a lifetime of distress and bowel incontinence.
Perineal trauma compensation claims
Suffering a perineal tear during childbirth is unlikely to be a cause for compensation. The majority of women giving birth vaginally suffer a tear around the vagina to some degree. Where it may become an issue of compensation is when the medical practitioners attending the birth fail to diagnose a severe tear, meaning that no repair is undertaken and the new mother goes on to experience life-changing symptoms.
It can also be a justification for a compensation claim if a repair is undertaken but it is inadequate in its coverage or incompetent in its quality. For the mother, the outcome can be similar to having no repair at all.
Diagnosing and repairing a perineal tear
Guidelines relevant to vaginal childbirth generally recommend that the new mother is given a thorough perineal examination immediately after giving birth. The purpose of this is to identify whether the woman has suffered any damage around the vagina, perineum and/or anus when she gave birth.
Damage to the perineum may be visually clear but damage to the anus, particularly internal damage will not be and an internal digital, rectal examination is also recommended in order to assess the extent of anal damage, if it has occurred.
Such an examination should not only identify any damage but assess and record it accurately. The future anal continence of the mother may be dependent on this examination.
Failing to assess perineal trauma
Failing to diagnose and address 1st or 2nd degree tears to the perineum is unlikely to cause long-term problems for the new mother. Nor is it likely to lead to a claim for compensation.
Failing to diagnose and repair a severe 3rd or 4th degree tear, however, can lead to catastrophic and distressing long-term damage and can often prompt a claim for compensation for the long-term impact.
A woman who has suffered a 3rd or 4th degree tear during childbirth but who remains unrepaired may well find that she beings to lose control of her bowels very quickly. This can be very difficult to repair and resolve at a later date and can leave the woman restricted in terms of work, personal and social life.
Speak to a solicitor
If you are suffering the appalling effects of an unrepaired severe perineal tear, contact us to discuss your experience with a solicitor who specialises in supporting claims for perineal trauma.
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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.