If you have sustained a third degree tear while giving birth, you will understandably be worried about whether or not you will regain normal function.
Recovering from a third degree tear
The prospects of a successful outcome after a third degree tear depend largely upon whether or not a primary repair was carried out.
A primary repair is when the third degree tear is repaired shortly after the injury occurred, which will normally be within hours of the birth.
Recent literature indicates that following a properly conducted primary repair of a third degree tear, only approximately 15% of patients suffer with faecal incontinence, and 61% do not suffer any anal incontinence whatsoever.
Therefore if you had a primary repair that was performed to a good standard, there is a very good chance that you will make a full recovery.
This optimistic outlook will be greatly reduced, however, if a primary repair is not carried out.
A secondary repair – meaning one carried out weeks/months/year after the injury happened – is associated with a poor outcome. This means that a woman may be left with ongoing problems as a result of having a defect in her sphincter. Such complications normally include faecal urgency, faecal leakage and incontinence.
Why would a primary repair not be performed?
Unless a patient’s condition is critical after birth, there is no valid reason why a third degree tear should not be repaired shortly after the delivery.
The injury should be diagnosed after the birth during a routine examination and a repair conducted in theatre by a competent surgeon.
If this standard of care is not provided, it can only mean that medical error is at play. For example, medical practitioners may fail to carry out an examination (including a rectal examination), or the practitioner conducting the examination overlooks the tear.
Either way, a failure to diagnose a third degree tear and perform a primary repair will be deemed negligent.
Claiming for a missed third degree tear
If your third degree tear was left unrepaired because of medical error, please get in touch with us today to discuss your options. If we believe you have been the victim of medical negligence, we can help you pursue a claim for compensation. This is intended to reflect the pain and suffering you have wrongfully incurred, including your physical, emotional and financial damages. Contact us today to speak to a solicitor.