A third degree tear must be treated by way of surgical repair shortly after the delivery. A failure to do so will amount to medical negligence.
How to treat a third degree tear
A third degree tear is when the perineum tears during childbirth and the injury extends to the external anal sphincter.
A third degree tear will cause problems if left untreated. It is therefore vital that the injury is diagnosed and repaired shortly after the delivery.
Treatment must begin with a surgical repair carried out in theatre by a qualified surgeon. It is not possible for a midwife to suture a third degree tear as it is a complex repair that requires specialist expertise.
After a repair has been completed, a patient should be given a course of antibiotics to prevent infection and wound breakdown. She may also be provided with laxatives to ease the passing of stools in the initial period after the birth.
Before being discharged from medical care, a patient must be told how best to manage a third degree tear. This will involve keeping the area clean, getting air to the wound and undertaking pelvic floor exercises.
With a surgical repair and good wound management, it should be possible to treat a third degree tear effectively.
Delayed treatment of a third degree tear
However, the timing of treatment is important. As long as a good repair is performed soon after the birth, a patient stands a good chance of making a full recovery. But if there is a delay, there is a risk that treatment will be ineffective.
Sadly this does happen as third degree tears are not always diagnosed after the delivery. It is only when a woman begins to suffer certain symptoms – such as faecal urgency – that medical practitioners uncover the defect.
If there is a delay in diagnosing a third degree tear, it is still possible to treat the injury. This will depend upon the patient’s set of circumstances, but may involve surgical repair, biofeedback, sacral nerve stimulation or physiotherapy.
Does a delay in treatment amount to negligence?
If a third degree tear is not treated shortly after the birth because medical practitioners failed to make a diagnosis, there will be a case of medical negligence. To find out more, you need to speak to a medical negligence solicitor today. If you do have the basis for a claim, you may be awarded a sum of compensation to reflect the damages you have wrongfully incurred.