Placental abruption is a complication of pregnancy that can present risks for both the mother and the baby. Also known as abruptio placentae, placental abruption occurs when the placenta pulls away from the uterus prematurely – prior to delivery. It most often occurs in the second and third trimesters, and the risks involved depend on the timing and severity of the abruption.
About one in 100 mothers will experience placental abruption during their pregnancy. During pregnancy, doctors should monitor for signs of placental abruption, and mothers who present with symptoms of placental abruption should be diagnosed and treated promptly in order to mitigate the risk of negative outcomes. Similar to other types of birth injuries, in many cases, negative outcomes resulting from placental abruption can be attributed to malpractice. If you need help, reach out to a trusted Connecticut placental abruption lawyer at Berkowitz Hanna.
During pregnancy, the placenta grows in the uterus along with the fetus. It is commonly described as the fetus’s “lifeline,” as it supplies the fetus with food and oxygen through the umbilical cord. However, in order to serve as the fetus’s lifeline, the placenta must remain attached to the uterine wall. If the placenta breaks away from the uterine wall, this can potentially be dangerous or even fatal, depending on the extent to which the connection between the fetus and the mother is disrupted. When the placenta separates from the uterine wall, this is described as placental abruption.
While doctors still do not know the precise cause of placental abruption, it has been linked to a number of different risk factors. Known maternal risk factors for placental abruption include:
Having one or more of these risk factors does not necessarily mean that an expecting mother will experience placental abruption during her pregnancy. However, it does increase the chances that her fetus will experience complications. As a result, when an expecting mother presents with one or more of these risk factors, her doctor should closely monitor for signs of fetal distress and take appropriate action to help ensure the fetus’s safety.
Placental abruption typically occurs no earlier than the twentieth week of pregnancy. From this point onward, mothers and their doctors should monitor for symptoms of fetal abruption through the date of delivery. Common symptoms of placental abruption during pregnancy include:
Doctors typically use ultrasounds to diagnose placental abruption. Blood tests can also help to pinpoint a diagnosis, and checking the fetus’s heart rate will help determine if he or she is experiencing distress as a result of experiencing a limited supply (or loss of) food or oxygen.
Placental abruption can present risks for both the mother and the baby. For mothers, the risks relate primarily to the loss of blood resulting from the abruption, while the risks for the baby include those related to both lack of nutrition and lack of oxygen. Risks for the mother in the event of placental abruption include:
Risks for the fetus in the event of placental abruption include:
For doctors, preventing complications caused by placental abruption involves diagnosing the mother’s condition promptly and providing appropriate care and treatment recommendations. This includes performing a prompt cesarean (C-section) delivery if necessary or managing the risks for the mother and the fetus during vaginal delivery. With partial abruptions, it may be possible to manage the risks in order to allow the fetus to continue to develop in the womb. Bed rest, administration of corticosteroids, and other treatment modalities can help to prevent unnecessary harm to the mother and the baby.
If your doctor failed to perform a timely diagnosis of placental abruption, did not recommend bedrest or other appropriate treatment, or failed to perform a C-section, you could have a claim for medical malpractice. All doctors in Connecticut owe a duty of care, and they can be held liable when they fail to provide the level of care the law requires.
In many cases, failure to prevent complications from placental abruption will be indicative of medical malpractice. With today’s medical knowledge and technology, there are relatively few circumstances in which failure to properly diagnose or treat complications from placental abruption will be excused. To find out if you have a claim, you can speak with a Connecticut placental abruption attorney about your legal rights.
Our attorneys have decades of experience representing Connecticut parents in medical malpractice cases. When you contact us, we will arrange for you to speak with one of our attorneys in person or over the phone as soon as possible. If it appears that you have a claim for medical malpractice related to placental abruption, our attorneys will then take all of the steps necessary to recover the financial compensation your family deserves.
The physical, psychological, and financial consequences of a doctor’s failure to timely diagnose and treat placental abruption can be devastating for many families. If you need help recovering, we encourage you to contact us for a free, no-obligation consultation. To speak with one of our experienced Connecticut placental abruption lawyers in confidence, please call or contact us online today.