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I was sent home after a traumatic birth and developed a bad infection due to an unfixed tear. What is my case for medical negligence?

Author: Neil Fearn  Bullet  Dated: 10/12/2013

Giving birth is usually an experience that many women will plan for. Every mother is encouraged to create a birth plan however, due to the nature of giving birth, not all birth plans can be put into practice.

The majority of births happen without a hitch, and mother and baby are both happy and healthy. However, in some situations this may not be the case and you may suffer a traumatic birth.

What Should Have Happened in the Hospital?

Tears are common during child birth and can occur naturally. The severity of the symptoms is determined by the degree of the perineal tear. These tears are classified in the following way:

  • First degree perineal tear: injury to the skin only
  • Second degree perineal tear: injury to the perineum including the perineal muscles but not including injury to the anal sphincter
  • Third degree perineal tear: as above but also including injury to the anal sphincter
  • Fourth degree tear: as above but the tear also goes deeper into the anus causing tearing to the anal epithelium

Usually, the doctor or midwife who helped you deliver your baby will be able to repair the tear. You will be given a local anaesthetic to numb the area and then they will give you stitches. This is the common treatment for first and second degree tears.

If it was a third or fourth degree tear you suffered, you will need to undergo a surgical repair usually within one hour of you giving birth. The stitches they use will be dissolvable so you will not need to return to the hospital to have them removed.

How Can a Solicitor Help You?

If your doctors, nurses or midwives have failed to identify your perineal tear or treat it properly you may have a claim for medical negligence. There are health guidelines in place to help them recognise if you have suffered a tear, this is why it is unacceptable when these sorts of medical problems are missed.

Perineal tears not only affect you physically, but they can affect your personal life as well. This is why it is important to contact a solicitor to get answers as to why your treatment was not up to standard. It will also send a clear message to the people that treated you to prevent this from happening to women and their families in the future.

A good solicitor will be able to guide you through the claims process and make sure your case is heard and dealt with in the most appropriate manner.

Top Tips to Take Home

  • Perineal tears are common especially with traumatic births however, not treating the properly is not
  • If your hospital missed your tear they could be responsible in a medical negligence claim
  • An experienced solicitor will be able to tell you if you have a case for your perineal tear

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