If medical professionals fail to diagnose a third degree tear, they will have breached their duty of care towards a patient. If this causes the patient to suffer complications, there will be grounds for a medical negligence compensation claim.
Breach of duty
A third degree tear is a type of perineal injury sustained during vaginal delivery. The injury involves the external anal sphincter and may extend to the internal anal sphincter.
It is not possible for an injury of the internal and external sphincters to develop spontaneously after childbirth. Therefore if a third degree tear is diagnosed sometime after the birth, it can only mean that the injury was missed by the medical professionals overseeing the delivery and aftercare.
However, third degree tears should not be missed. There are strict guidelines on intrapartum care that state every woman who gives birth vaginally must have a digital rectal examination both before and after suturing in order to look for anal sphincter tears. As long as the practitioner carrying out the examination is competent, a third degree tear will be accurately diagnosed.
If a medical practitioner fails to spot a third degree tear despite performing an examination, or an examination is not carried out, there will be a breach of duty. This means the medical practitioners at the hospital have failed to provide a standard of care that would be deemed acceptable by a reasonable body of medical men.
If a third degree tear is missed, it is very likely that a woman will go on to develop complications. Most women report symptoms such as faecal urgency, faecal leakage, incontinence of faeces and flatus, and perineal pain. These physical symptoms can have a serious knock-on effect upon a woman’s emotional and financial well-being, as she will not be able to enjoy social activities, nor will she be able to return to employment.
Should a breach of duty cause a degree of pain, suffering and loss of amenity, as described above, there will be grounds for a medical negligence compensation claim.
Claiming for a missed third degree tear
If your third degree tear was initially missed, please get in touch with us today to discuss your options. If we believe there has been a breach of duty, we will help you pursue a claim for compensation. This will enable you to recover redress for the pain, suffering and financial loss you have incurred.