Discussions about the potential complications of childbirth often center on injuries to the newborn baby. However, mothers also face significant risks inside of the delivery room, particularly when physicians fail to provide proper and timely treatment. Perineum trauma is a common occurrence during the delivery process, but inadequate medical care can lead to a lifetime of physical and mental pain for an injured mother.
What is perineum trauma?
The perineum is the area of skin located between the expectant mother’s vagina and anus. The strain of childbirth commonly causes this skin to spontaneously tear during the delivery process. According to the Mayo Clinic, these tears range in severity as follows:
- First-degree tears. These common injuries usually heal within a few weeks and rarely require stitches.
- Second-degree tears. These injuries generally require stitches and may take longer to heal.
- Third-degree tears. This injury involves the muscles of the perineum, along with the muscles of the anus. They often require surgical repair and may take months to completely heal.
- Fourth-degree tears. This is the most severe type of tear, affecting the muscles and the tissue lining of the rectum. Surgery is often required to correct the condition, with months of healing time.
Negligent treatment of perineum trauma
Unfortunately, new mothers are often forced to deal with the symptoms of a perineum tear. The prevalence of perineum injuries leads some physicians to improperly diagnose the severity of the tear or simply fail to provide the mother with correct treatment. The most severe cases require a surgical procedure to adequately treat the birth-related injury. In far too many cases, instead of recognizing the need for surgery, doctors send new mothers home with self-care instructions. These injured mothers must deal with the pain and discomfort of the tear without a proper diagnosis of the extent of their injuries.
Perineum tears can cause such painful and uncomfortable symptoms as:
- Fecal incontinence
- Painful sexual intercourse
The injury can also lead to psychological complications. The pain and embarrassment of dealing with a perineum injury can be difficult to handle, particularly for new mothers who may already suffer with symptoms of postpartum depression.
Proper labor and delivery treatment requires appropriate care for the mother, as well as the child. When doctors fail to properly diagnose and treat maternal conditions, new mothers may be left with life-altering physical conditions. The experienced Georgia birth injury attorneys of Harris Lowry Manton LLP have the knowledge and skill necessary to successfully handle complex medical malpractice cases. If you experienced a severe perineum injury during delivery, call us today to schedule an appointment. We can be reached at 404-961-7650 in Atlanta, or in Savannah at 912-651-9967. You can also reach us through our contact form.