Medical professionals have become better and recognising and repairing severe perineal injuries such as 3rd and 4th degree tears.
Nevertheless, there are still occasions when a serious tear is missed and therefore left unrepaired. This is not an acceptable standard of medical practice. If the patient experiences ongoing problems as a result of these medical failings, there will be grounds for a medical negligence compensation claim.
For more information on claiming compensation for a missed 3rd degree tear, please contact our friendly team of solicitors today.
Recognising perineal tears
The number of 3rd and 4th degree tears in England is increasing. Just 1.8% of first time mothers in the UK sustained a severe perineal tear during the year 2000. This rose to 5.9% in 2011.
However, this increase may be largely due to the fact that medical professionals are getting better at recognising the injuries, meaning more of them are being reported.
Indeed, clinicians have been receiving more training, and guidelines on the management of third and fourth degrees were published in 2001 by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG). These have been recently revised.
Furthermore, all maternity units in England are supposed to have a written policy regarding the detection and treatment of 3rd and 4th degree tears.
Repairing perineal tears
All these steps have also ensured improvements have been made in the repair of 3rd and 4th degree tears. Many women now report a good outcome after a severe perineal tear. This is particularly true of 3rd degree tears. With 4th degree tears the anal sphincter may lose some function, making it difficult to control the passage of wind.
It is widely accepted that the best outcome is achieved when a repair is done shortly after the delivery. This is called a primary repair. A repair that is carried out after a significant delay (of weeks, months or years) is called a secondary repair. Secondary repairs are not as effective and the patient may not regain function.
Failure to recognise and repair perineal tear
It is not considered acceptable for a perineal tear to go unrecognised and repaired. Medical practitioners working in obstetrics and midwifery should have the knowledge and expertise to diagnose an injury and perform an adequate repair. Anything less than this standard of practice will be deemed incompetent.
Any patient who is harmed because of a missed 3rd degree tear, or a missed 4th degree tear, will be the victim of medical negligence. To find out what this means and whether you can claim compensation, please contact us today.