If you have suffered a third degree tear while giving birth and the care you received fell below an acceptable standard, you could be in a position to pursue a claim. Please get in touch with us to find out more.
Allegations of negligence
Third degree tear claims normally arise because a patient has sustained a third degree tear, but the injury is not diagnosed and properly repaired in a timely manner.
Other allegations of medical negligence might include:
- The doctor failed to rotate the baby’s head manually before applying forceps
- The doctor failed to use the correct type of assisted delivery
- The doctor delivered the baby’s head in the transverse position
- Medical staff failed to take into account the risk factors for the development of a third degree tear in a patient – e.g. a patient who has had a prolonged labour, assisted delivery and shoulder dystocia
- Medical staff failed to take any account of a skin tear going down to the anus
- Medical staff failed to carry out a rectal examination before a repair was carried out
- Medical staff negligently diagnosed a tear as a more minor tear – e.g. first or second degree tear
- Medical staff failed to diagnose a third or fourth degree tear
Negligence and causation
In order to make a successful claim, it is necessary to establish that a substandard level of care caused a patient to suffer harm which could otherwise have been avoided.
This causal link is normally easy to identify in third degree tear claims. This is because if a third degree tear is correctly diagnosed and repaired in a prompt manner, it is likely that a patient will be without symptoms within 12 months. This is evidenced by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists which suggests 60 to 80% of women will make a good recovery after a primary sphincter repair.
Therefore while a primary repair does not entirely eradicate the possibility of complications arising, it does significantly reduce the risk, with only 20 to 40% of women reporting incontinence of flatus or faecal urgency within 12 months.
In conclusion, if a patient undergoes a primary repair, on the balance of probabilities she will not experience ongoing problems such as incontinence. But if the defect is left unrepaired, the risk of third degree tear complications increases considerably.
Leaving a third degree tear unrepaired will be deemed unacceptable. Because this will have caused a patient to develop complications, there will be grounds for a compensation claim.
Contact us today to start your third degree tear claim.