Perineal or vaginal tears may occur quite naturally, as a consequence of childbirth. The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists estimates that over 85% of women who have a vaginal birth will suffer some degree of perineal trauma and of these 60-70% will need suturing. However while perineal tears are common for many women in childbirth the subsequent inadequate or negligent treatment of them can lead to a claim for compensation.
Women who have suffered from traumatic perineal tears are often reluctant to discuss their symptoms believing that vaginal injury is a necessary part of having a baby. Symptoms can include severe pain, incontinence of flatus (wind) and solid stool and agonisingly painful sexual intercourse. For some women these symptoms can last for years and cause them great misery, pain, and for some, psychological damage.
"Too many women suffer the misery of faecal incontinence and/or urgency after their babies are born. This is not always because of negligent care – but sometimes it can be. " Claire Fazan, clinical negligence partner
It is vital for women's future well-being that injuries to the perineum are correctly identified as quickly as possible and that expert advice is sought by midwives and doctors attending deliveries. Whilst not all tears will lead to a successful claim for compensation clinical negligence lawyers at Leigh Day have successfully represented many women who have suffered severe 3rd and 4th degree tears that have been misdiagnosed and treated negligently. Our lawyers are recognised as obstetric litigation experts in the leading legal directories.