Have you or a loved one suffered serious injury or death due to postpartum hemorrhage?
We are currently accepting certain cases where mothers were severely injured or lost their life due to negligence in recognizing and treating postpartum hemorrhage. If you are in need of an Oklahoma or Texas maternal injury and death lawyer, please contact us below for a free consultation.
What is Postpartum Hemorrhage?
Postpartum hemorrhage is excessive bleeding, beyond what is normal or expected, during or after delivery. Hemorrhage occurs in up to 5% of deliveries, affecting a possible 200,000 women each year in the United States. While some causes of postpartum hemorrhage are sudden, massive, and usually fatal even with the best medical response, the primary causes of postpartum hemorrhage are predictable and treatable, rarely leading to death or serious complications if the doctor is properly prepared.
Lives are lost to postpartum hemorrhage because doctors aren’t watching and they aren’t prepared. Some women bleed to death slowly, undetected, when doctors and nurses fail to monitor them in the hospital. Others will bleed out on the delivery table while doctors scramble for supplies, blood, and clotting factors that they should have had ready before they started. With tools available to predict postpartum hemorrhage almost every time it occurs, a doctor’s failure to timely diagnose and treat postpartum bleeding may amount to negligence in some cases.
Types of Postpartum Hemorrhage
Uterine atony is responsible for 70%-80% of all postpartum hemorrhage events. It occurs when the uterus does not have enough muscle tone to push the placenta out of the body and compress the blood vessels that were torn when the placenta detached. This type of hemorrhage causes visible bleeding following the delivery and is associated additional bleeding events and infection after discharge from the hospital.
Other types of hemorrhage, like hematomas, are not visible and may be left undetected until they reach critical levels. A few rare types of hemorrhage, such as a ruptured uterus or placenta acreta, happen abruptly and can lead to fatal blood loss in a matter of minutes.
Postpartum Hemorrhage is Almost Always Predictable
Postpartum hemorrhage is not preventable, but, for 99% of cases, it is at least moderately predictable. A risk assessment, only recently adopted by some participating Texas hospitals, categorizes the mother as high, moderate, or low risk by conducting a physical examination and reviewing the medical history for risk factors. Risk factors can include previous pregnancies, c-sections, twins or multiples, the age and health of the mother, excessive amniotic fluid, uterine surgeries, and many other medical conditions, procedures, and considerations. Although a simple approach, this assessment can accurately predict those patients at risk for postpartum hemorrhage 60%-85% of the time. Only 1% of those categorized as low risk did actually hemorrhage, meaning doctors and nurses had at least moderate warning for the other 99%.
Doctors, Nurses and Hospitals Have a Responsibility To Be Prepared
For high risk patients, doctors may treat for uterine atony even before a hemorrhage happens by giving certain drugs to help the uterus contract and physically massaging and compressing the uterus by hand. For both high and moderate risk patients, doctors can have blood products, blood transfusion supplies, blood clotting factors, escalation procedures, and an operating room on standby. With such a high rate of predictability, there is no good reason for the doctor, nurses and hospital not to have things ready for the complications that are likely to occur.
Doctors and Nurses Have a Responsibility To Monitor
Especially in the case of high risk patients, doctors should monitor closely and watch for symptoms of hemorrhage until the danger has passed. This is especially important because some of the symptoms of hemorrhage, such as pain and pressure, are normally associated simply with childbirth, leading to some cases of postpartum hemorrhage not being diagnosed until the patient starts crashing. Unfortunately, if there is a delay in correctly diagnosing the problem, the situation can advance to a crisis. Doctors and nurses who know a patient is high risk and are “on their toes” can immediately assess and treat with even minor symptoms.
This responsibility also extends after the patient goes home. With uterine atony, especially, continued slow bleeding or infection can occur and, in most cases where this was fatal, the death can be connected to a lack of follow up appointments or substandard follow up exams.
Do You Have a Case?
Although at least 60% of the maternal deaths in the United States and Texas were found to be preventable. If you or a loved one suffered severe injuries or death after a postpartum hemorrhage, you may have a case for negligence or wrongful death against the healthcare provider if:
- You presented a high risk of postpartum hemorrhage
- The doctor did not perform a risk assessment
- The doctor failed to adequately prepare for a possible hemorrhage
- The doctor failed to properly monitor you after delivery
- You suffered severe injuries due to blood loss or the complications of blood loss
- You lost a loved one due to blood loss or the complications of blood loss
How We Can Help You
At Van Wey Law, we have the necessary experience to represent you in your negligence or maternal death lawsuit. We understand how traumatizing it can be to face a near death experience only moments after giving birth, and how devastating it can be to lose a loved one when it feels like there was more that could have been done to save her. We have represented people in situations similar to what you are facing.
We take the time to listen to your story and review your specific case to determine if a negligence or wrongful death claim can be pursued and what steps to take next.
Unfortunately, most families will never get a straight answer from the doctor or hospital after the death of a mother. Our job is to level the playing field and advocate on your behalf to find out exactly what happened, and to seek justice and fight for the compensation you deserve.
Contact an experienced Dallas maternal death lawyer today for a free consultation: