Traumatic cloaca is a rare but serious injury that can occur during a vaginal delivery. In this article we explore what traumatic cloaca is, how it should be treated, and what will happen if it is not diagnosed in a timely fashion.
What is traumatic cloaca?
Cloaca is when there is a confluence of the anus, vagina and urethra. In other words, there is no perineum to divide the vagina and anus, leaving one large opening.
A cloacal deformity is a congenital problem that female infants can be born with. Traumatic cloaca, on the other hand, is an injury sustained by female adults because of a traumatic incident – such as a vaginal delivery.
Traumatic cloaca is a severe fourth degree tear and is the worst type of injury that can be sustained during a vaginal delivery.
Diagnosing and repairing traumatic cloaca
If a woman sustains such an injury during childbirth, it must be diagnosed and repaired shortly after the birth. It is routine practice for a vaginal examination to be performed by either a midwife or doctor after the delivery. This should ensure the cloacal defect is quickly diagnosed, as any reasonably competent midwife or doctor should be able to recognise a fourth degree tear.
Once diagnosed, a senior surgeon should be asked to carry out a repair in theatre. This is a complex operation, during which the vagina and anal sphincters will have to be reconstructed. Therefore it is vital an experienced surgeon is on hand to help.
Failure to diagnose and treat traumatic cloaca
Traumatic cloaca is a severe injury and it is impossible to think it could ever go undetected. Yet sadly there are incidents in which women sustain a serious tear and leave hospital without having been diagnosed and treated. This may happen because:-
- An examination is not performed post-delivery;
- An examination is performed but an injury is not detected;
- An examination is performed and a more minor injury is diagnosed.
This will lead to devastating consequences as a cloacal defect will result in complications such as faecal incontinence and urgency. A repair can be performed at a later date, but this will not be as effective as a repair carried out immediately after the birth. Therefore a woman’s problems may be permanent.
Claiming for a missed perineal tear
If you have discovered that you have a cloacal defect because of a vaginal delivery, but medical professionals did not diagnose the injury at the time, you will be entitled to compensation for the awful damage this has done. Contact us to find out more.
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