Perineal Tears.

Perineal Tear Injury Compensation Claims Solicitors.

Even with modern medical advancements, childbirth still carries some risk of injury to the mother, the most common of which are vaginal or perineal tears.

In most cases these tears are minor and heal quickly. However, in some circumstances perineal tears can have long-lasting, and even permanent repercussions, when they are mismanaged or mistreated. If you have experienced a perineal tear which has left you with undue pain and further health complications, and this was due to negligent care during childbirth or postnatally, you may be entitled to make a claim for compensation.

Here at Lanyon Bowdler our team of clinical negligence solicitors have the knowledge, expertise, and compassion, to help you as you recover from your birth injury and pursue legal action.

What is a Perineal Tear?

The perineum is the area between the vagina and the anus, and during childbirth this area has the potential to tear naturally, for example if the baby is particularly large, or if the use of forceps is required. Minor tears are fairly common, affecting approximately 90 percent of mothers, and they typically heal quickly without the need for intervention. In some instances the doctor or midwife may need to make an incision in the perineal area in order to minimise the risk of a tear occurring; this is called an episiotomy. Occasionally the episiotomy can extend beyond its initial parameters and can become a perineal tear.

It is not always possible to predict or prevent a perineal tear, and experiencing a tear during childbirth is not always cause for legal action. However, if the tear is missed, misdiagnosed, or mistreated by your doctor or midwife you may be entitled to make a claim for compensation. If you’re unsure, please get in touch and a member of our team will be happy to answer any questions you may have.

Our Perineal Tear Compensation Expertise

Here at Lanyon Bowdler we have a great deal of experience in handling compensation claims just like yours. Our team of medical negligence solicitors are highly qualified and experienced, and we pride ourselves on offering an empathic and holistic service to  our clients.

How can Lanyon Bowdler help me?

In addition to the legal side of your claim, we can also assist you with gaining access to treatments and therapies which may not be accessible on the NHS, as well as facilitating coordination between all of the healthcare providers involved in your recovery journey.

If you are experiencing financial difficulties as a result of your birth injury we may be able to obtain interim payments, which are then deducted from your final compensation amount, as well as offering advice on any welfare benefits you may be entitled to claim.

Our people are ready and waiting to be a part of your team. By working together and keeping the lines of communication flowing throughout the whole process, we can achieve the best possible legal result, and help you on your way to a healthier and happier future.

Your Perineal Tear Claims questions answered

How are perineal tears classified?

Perineal tears are classified according to the degree and severity of damage which has occurred, as follows:

  • First degree tear – this is an injury to the back of the vaginal opening and the skin of the perineum, it is typically small in size, minor in severity, and does not require stitches in order to heal.
  • Second degree tear – this type of injury is a midline tear which involves the perineal muscles and the back of the vagina, and will require stitches.
  • Third degree tear – this type of tear involves the perineal skin and muscles, the back of the vagina, and extends through to the anal sphincter, and requires repair in surgery.
  • Fourth degree tear – this is similar to a third degree tear but it also extends into the rectum, vagina, and anus, and requires repair in surgery.
  • Periurethral laceration – this is a tear at the top of the vagina where it meets the urethral opening, and is often quite small, requiring a couple of stitches to heal.

If you have experienced a perineal or vaginal tear of any degree and you believe it to be caused or worsened due to medical negligence, please speak to us as soon as possible and we can advise you on whether or not you have a claim.

What are the risk factors for perineal tearing?

Although it is often difficult to predict or prevent a perineal tear from occurring during childbirth, there are a number of risk factors which may mean that a tear is more likely to occur, including:

  • Induction of labour
  • Administration of epidural
  • Baby with a birth weight in excess of 4kg/8lb 13oz
  • Baby experiences shoulder dystocia
  • Assisted delivery using forceps
  • Prolonged second stage labour
  • Baby in occipito-posterior position
  • Mother receives a midline episiotomy
  • Previous third or fourth degree tear
  • The first vaginal delivery

If  any of the above risk factors are identified, the midwife or obstetrician may decide to perform an episiotomy to allow more space for the baby to be delivered. However, an episiotomy does not always work in preventing further tearing so it can be a difficult decision for medical professionals to make.

How are perineal tears treated?

Once the baby has been delivered, a midwife or doctor will usually perform a detailed examination in order to assess whether any perineal or vaginal tearing has occurred, and to what extent. If a first degree tear is identified, usually painkillers are given and the wound is left to heal naturally. A second degree tear will usually be treated by the midwife or obstetrician who will suture it with dissolvable stitches under a local anaesthetic.

In the instance of a third or fourth degree tear, usually surgery to repair the wound will be needed, either under a general or regional anaesthetic such as an epidural or spinal injection. After surgery, the wound will be examined again to ensure the stitches have been applied correctly, and antibiotics will be prescribed to prevent infection, along with laxatives in order to prevent undue pressure on the area whilst it heals. Providing there is no delay in discovering and treating the tear, and the severity of the tear is appropriately recognised and repaired, most women will make a full recovery within 12 months of the procedure.

What complications could occur after a perineal tear?

If a perineal tear goes unnoticed at first, or if it is not repaired correctly, it can lead to a number of potential complications, including:

  • Risk of infection in the wound causing bleeding, swelling, and pain
  • A swollen and bruised wound can affect defecation and urination
  • Failed stitches can lead to a fistula where faecal matter passes from the rectum into the vagina
  • Damaged perineal muscles can cause general pain in the abdominal and pelvic area
  • Haematomas can occur in and around the wound site and may need draining
  • Anal or bladder incontinence could occur if the wound is not repaired adequately
  • The impact of the wound can affect maternal bonding and could aggravate postnatal depression

If you experienced perineal or vaginal tearing during childbirth and have experienced any problems as your wound has healed, it is important to speak to your doctor as soon as possible.

If you feel that the care you received was negligent and has caused these further problems for you, speak to us here at Lanyon Bowdler and we can help you to seek justice as you recover from your ordeal.

What reasons are there for making a perineal tear claim?

The doctors and midwives responsible for you during childbirth owe you a duty of care, and if that duty of care is breached and they fail to provide the level of care necessary to keep you safe and well, they can be considered negligent.

Some of the ways in which medical negligence can lead to it being necessary to make a perineal tear compensation claim include:

  • Failure to consider the risk factors for perineal tears
  • Failure to advise the mother on the risks before the birth
  • Failure to take preventative action to minimise the risk of tearing
  • Failure to identify and repair a tear in the correct time frame
  • Failure to respond to respond to abnormal symptoms or signs of infection
  • Failure to correctly identify the severity of the tear
  • Failure to appropriately repair the tear.

This list is by no means exhaustive, and if you have experienced any kind of negligent care from the midwives or doctors responsible for you during childbirth and postnatally, you may be able to make a claim for compensation.

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Time Limits On Making A Perineal Tear Claim And Funding Options

In general, the time limit for bringing a Perineal Tear Claim is three years from the date of the injury or the ‘date of knowledge’ of the injury (to cover situations where the impacts of an injury surface at a future time).

However, if a child sustains an injury, due to an accident caused by the actions or negligence of another party, the time limit will usually expire on their 21st birthday unless the child never gains mental capacity due to their injuries, in which case the time limits do not apply.

We can support your Perineal Tear Claim through a range of funding options, including our No Win No Fee Injury Claim promise, as well as through private funding, and legal expenses insurance. Our Solicitors will consider whether we can handle your Perineal Tear Claim on a No Win No Fee basis at the point of an initial evaluation of the circumstance surrounding your injury.

Contact Lanyon Bowdler’s Medical Negligence Lawyers Today

By choosing Lanyon Bowdler for a Medical Negligence Compensation Claim, you can rest assured that you have the best legal expertise on your team.

Lanyon Bowdler’s medical negligence team is widely acclaimed and recognised as one of the best clinical negligence departments in the country.

If you have suffered because of negligent treatment relating to your pregnancy or maternity, you may be entitled to make a compensation claim.

Give us a call or complete our online enquiry form, to see how our team can help you get the justice and compensation you deserve.

There is no obligation or any charges for our initial assessment.

We have offices in Shrewsbury, Bromyard, Conwy, Hereford, Ludlow, Oswestry, and Telford, so are able to act for clients all over Shropshire, Herefordshire, Mid and North Wales and across the Midlands (including Wolverhampton & Birmingham).

As a leading full-service law firm, we can represent you wherever you live in England or Wales.

We are committed to providing exceptional levels of client care and will work closely and considerately with you to help find the best outcomes and help to get your life back on track.

Our team of medical negligence specialists will be able to deal with your case in a sensitive and approachable way.

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Beth Heath
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Emma Broomfield
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Medical Negligence
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Personal Injury | Medical Negligence
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