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Second Degree Tears
Can you make a claim for compensation?
First and second degree tears are the most commonly experienced tears following childbirth. Of the women who tear during childbirth, 90% will experience a first or second degree tear. Most women who go through childbirth will tear to some extent. Tear classification runs from first degree up to fourth degree, with fourth degree being the most extensive and severe tearing.
Second Degree Tears
Second degree tears are classified as tears which affect both the skin and the muscles of the perineum and vagina. They do not heal naturally - as opposed to first degree tears - instead they have to be treated with stitches following diagnosis. These stitches are to be administered by a trained midwife, under local anaesthetic. A thorough examination must be conducted following childbirth and following treatment to ensure that the mother's tears have been treated and diagnosed correctly. Healing time for second degree tears is good; they heal within the weeks following the birth. Tearing causing some discomfort but the discomfort coupled with second degree tears is not extensive.
It is not likely to be possible to prevent tearing during childbirth, but management of tearing may be possible. There are a number of ways in which childbirth tears may be managed:
1. Caesarean section for mothers carrying large babies with which there is likely to be a danger of severe tearing.
2. Awareness of tearing in past labours. A previous birth tear increases the likelihood of tearing during future births.
3. Birth partners.
4. Mediolateral episiotomy: during deliveries in which a tear is thought to be imminent and during deliveries requiring forceps.>/
The prevention of birth tearing is a contentious subject, with a wide literature of opposing views. Tearing is extremely common so prevention methods are not one hundred percent effective and there are many further methods which require further research which have been thought to affect the likelihood of tearing - e.g. water birth and breathing control. An epidural is argued to increase the risk of severe tearing due to the lack of sensation in the lower part of the body. Midline episiotomies also may potentially increase the risk of the mother suffering a third or fourth degree tear.
Second Degree Tears and Medical Negligence
If you have suffered a second degree tear, this alone is not substantial enough to make a medical negligence claim. However, if your second degree tear was not diagnosed or treated properly - you are likely to have grounds for a medical negligence claim. Misdiagnosis or failure to treat tears can lead to discomfort and complications for a mother. Medical negligence claims for childbirth tearing is also possible if your birth was negligently managed.
To find out more, give 1st Claims a call for free 0800 2888 693 or fill in an online enquiry. All initial enquiries are offered to you completely free of charge so you have the chance to talk your situation through with a specialist prior to beginning a claim.
What Happens Next?
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- Costs - your options for funding your claim; and
- An explanation of what will happen next if you decide to carry on and make a claim (how your solicitor will take care of everything for you).
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