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Episiotomy Performed With Blunt Scissors

As a deliberate cut to the perineum, an episiotomy should be carried out with a sharp pair of scissors. Unfortunately this is not always the case, as some episiotomies are performed with a pair of blunt scissors, contributing towards the occurrence of a serious birth injury. If this has happened to you, you should contact a solicitor to discuss the substandard care you received, as you could be entitled to compensation.

How should an episiotomy be performed?

An episiotomy may be performed during a vaginal birth to aid the delivery of a baby. If an episiotomy is deemed necessary (perhaps to assist a forceps delivery) the doctor or midwife should apply local anaesthetic to the area around the vagina. Alternatively if an epidural has been administered, this should be 'topped up' to ensure a woman cannot feel any pain.

Once this has been achieved, a sharp pair of scissors should be obtained from a delivery pack and used to cut the perineum, starting at the vagina and extending diagonally downwards. This is known as a mediolateral episiotomy and has replaced the once favoured midline episiotomy, whereby the cut is made straight downwards. Indeed, the diagonal direction is now considered vitally important, as it reduces the possibility of additional complications arising.

What effect will blunt scissors have upon an episiotomy?

However, if a blunt pair of scissors is used, the size of the episiotomy will be inadequate. Furthermore, the diagonal angle of a mediolateral episiotomy may not be achieved, meaning the cut instead extends straight downwards. Both these factors will dramatically increase the risk of a perineal tear occurring. If a serious tear (such as a third or fourth degree tear) does subsequently happen, and this is because medical professionals failed to use a sharp pair of scissors when performing an episiotomy, the level of medical care will be considered substandard. As the victim of medical negligence, the injured woman will be legally entitled to pursue a claim for compensation.

Claiming for third and fourth degree tears caused by blunt scissors

If you have suffered a third or fourth degree tear because your NHS Trust performed an episiotomy with a blunt pair of scissors, contact a medical negligence solicitor as soon as possible. This is because your injury may well have been caused by negligence medical treatment. If so, you will be entitled to make a claim which, if successful, will ensure you are properly compensated for the damages you have incurred.

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Early legal assistance can be vital so please contact us if you would like to discuss your situation. Please call us free on 0800 234 3300 (or from a mobile 01275 334030) or complete our Online Enquiry Form.

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