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When Can I Claim For A Perineal Tear?

If you have suffered a perineal tear during a vaginal delivery, you may be wondering whether or not you are able to claim compensation. In this article we explore the reasons why you might be able to make a birth injury claim, helping you to understand your legal position.

Reasons you might be able to claim for a tear

During a vaginal delivery, it is perfectly normal for the perineum to sustain an injury. The extent of damage will vary in severity from patient to patient and will range from a first degree tear (the most minor type of injury) to a fourth degree tear (the most severe type of injury).

1. Failure to prevent

The incidence of a tear itself does not necessarily amount to medical negligence. While perineal tears are of course unfortunate, they are a natural element of childbirth. But what might be considered negligent is if you are known to be at risk of tearing, but steps are not taken to prevent you sustaining an injury. For example, if you have gestational diabetes or your baby is very large, medical professionals should consider inducing you before your due date. Alternatively it may be safer to perform a caesarean section. If they fail to take these steps, despite knowing that you have an increased chance of tearing, you could be entitled to claim for any injuries you subsequently experience.

2. Failure to examine

Where birth injury claims ordinarily arise, however, is the failure to diagnose a perineal tear. After a vaginal delivery, all women should undergo an examination to assess how much damage has been sustained. It is essential that a digital rectal examination is carried out at the same time, as it is possible for the anal sphincter to suffer injury. Despite this examination now being compulsory, some women leave hospital without having being assessed, meaning their perineal tear is left undiagnosed. If medical professionals have neglected to ensure an examination has taken place and a woman does suffer an undiagnosed perineal tear, there will be grounds for a claim.

3. Failure to make an accurate diagnosis

Lastly, there are occasions when a doctors or midwife will assess the perineum after delivery but fail to make an accurate diagnosis. Indeed, we have acted for women whose tear simply hasn't been detected, despite a thorough examination. We have also acted for women who have been 'under-diagnosed', meaning that a first or second degree tear has been diagnosed, but in actual fact a third or fourth degree tear is at play. This means they leave hospital without the correct treatment, causing complications to occur later down the line.

Speak to a solicitor

If you believe you have might be entitled to make a birth injury claim for any of the reasons listed above, you need to speak to a medical negligence solicitor as soon as possible, as you could be entitled to compensation.

Can We Help You With A Medical Negligence Enquiry?

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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Can We Help You With A Medical Negligence Enquiry?

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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