About Postpartum Negligence

Negligence by hospitals and doctors after the delivery of the baby can cause permanent injury or death to the mother.  Physicians and nurses must monitor the mother after delivery for signs of infection, bleeding and other complications.

Wound Infection

In hospitals, mothers may develop infections for any number of reasons.  Though acquiring an infection is not typically the result the negligence, the hospital’s failure to recognize or treat an infection can be.  Without proper treatment, some infection can cause the wrongful death of the mother.  Some types of infection include:

    • Necrotizing fasciitis
    • Abscesses
    • Cellulitis

Postpartum Hemorrhage

Postpartum hemorrhage is excessive bleeding after delivery of the baby.  Physicians must not wait until the cause of the bleeding is determined to act—in most situations they must provide patients with more fluids and begin preparations for blood transfusions.  There are several causes of postpartum hemorrhage, including:

    • Retained Products of Conception:  doctors must carefully inspect the placenta when it is delivered to determine whether there are any pieces left behind in the uterus.  If there are, it can cause hemorrhage or endomyometritis.  When a doctor suspects retained products of conception, he should explore the uterus manually or by ultrasound, and may have to perform a D&C.
    • Uterine Rupture:  when the uterine wall is breached, the mother’s life can be threatened by excessive bleeding.  Uterine ruptures are most common when the mother has prior surgical scars or cesarean sections.  They can also be caused by doctor negligence, including excessive pushing on the stomach or improper use of Pitocin.  Uterine rupture can also occur before delivery.

Endomyometritis

Endomyometritis is an infection in the wall of the uterus.  Risk factors include cesarean section, manual removal of the placenta, and patients with meconium, prolonged rupture of membranes or chorioamnionitis.  Doctors must recognize the risk factors for endomyometritis injuries, including fever, high white blood count and uterine tenderness.  Proper treatment usually includes antibiotics, and D&C if retained products of conception are discovered.

Eclampsia

Eclampsia is a particularly severe form of preeclampsia, characterized by high blood pressure during pregnancy.  Women with eclampsia experience seizures which can occur before, during or several weeks after labor and delivery.  Even after delivery, it should be treated with magnesium sulfate for up to 24 hours, which must be carefully prescribed to prevent additional seizures.  Too much can cause severe injuries including depression of the central nervous system, loss of deep tendon reflexes, respiratory depression and paralysis, coma or heart attacks.

Contact Us

If you or a loved one has been injured because of negligence after labor and delivery, contact our medical malpractice lawyers at (855) 712-7818 or online for a free consultation.

For More Information

Photo by http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blood_transfusion