Were you or your unborn baby the victim ofmedical malpractice that led to a birth injury? Did the obstetrician’s negligence lead to an Rh incompatibility complication?
The personal injury attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers handle medical negligence cases and can serve as your legal advocates.
Rh incompatibility birth injuries remain a leading cause of fatal blood-associated problems among newborns. Therefore, failure to diagnose or treat Rh incompatibility can have disastrous consequences for newborns and infants and may lead to a malpractice lawsuit.
Rh incompatibility occurs whenever pregnant women have Rh-negative blood, and their baby is Rh-positive. Doctors often refer to Rh incompatibility as hemolytic disease or Rh disease of the newborn that affects the baby’s red blood cells.
Severe hemolytic anemia occurs when the baby’s blood cells contain insufficient hemoglobin, which could be fatal.
In addition, the resulting Rh incompatibility with the mother’s immune system creates antibodies that pass through the placenta to the baby’s red blood cells, which can cause severe injuries, miscarriage, or a stillborn baby.
Proper tests and monitoring are necessary for the Rh-negative mother’s body during pregnancy. Patients can avoid most Rh incompatibility complications if the doctors diagnose Rh incompatibility early and treat the mother and baby’s blood.
Rh-Positive Blood and Rh-Negative Blood Destroying Red Blood Cells
The Rh factor can dramatically affect pregnancy when the blood from an Rh-positive fetus passes into the bloodstream of an Rh-negative mother. The mother’s body does not recognize the Rh-positive blood and will begin to create antibodies in the mother’s bloodstream.
The antibodies will cross the placenta and attack and destroy the baby’s blood cells, leading to severe health problems or death. To avoid severe health issues, the healthcare professional must conduct an antibody screen to determine the pregnant mother’s Rh factor and provide treatment before the Rh-positive baby suffers serious complications from Rh incompatibility.
Typically, the doctor will conduct proper blood work and administer two immune globulin shots if a mother is Rh-negative during the prenatal stage. Usually, the first shot is administered around the 28th week of pregnancy. A second shot is given within 72 hours of childbirth.
Further Monitoring of the Rh Antibodies in the Mother
A prenatal test to determine if the Rh antibodies in the mother are present is essential. If you’re pregnant and have developed Rh antibodies, your doctor will closely monitor your pregnancy.
A positive blood type test result means that the mother has Rh antibodies in her blood. If the pregnant woman does not have Rh antibodies in her blood, the doctor will likely test the baby’s father to determine his Rh type.
The Rh Factor Protein
The Rh factor is a protein on the surface of red blood cells. If you have RH factor protein, you are said to be Rh-positive. If you do not have it, you are Rh-negative.
When the Mother Is Rh Negative
Special blood transfusions may be needed for newborns with the Rh factor protein if their mothers have Rh-negative blood.
Rh Incompatibility Medical Malpractice Lawsuits
The mother’s Rh factor is a genetic trait. However, Rh blood incompatibility may be an avoidable life-threatening condition that could be detected with a blood test in expectant women and treated by a medical professional.
If the doctor has not upheld the standard of care, you can file a medical malpractice lawsuit. We will obtain the necessary medical records and work with medical experts to help you document and build your case.
At Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC, our birth injury attorneys have represented those affected by acts of negligence during pregnancy and delivery.
The Cause of Rh Incompatibility
When a pregnant woman who has a negative blood type is exposed to positive blood, the body begins to produce antibodies to create an autoimmune response in the mother’s immune system to what the body perceives as a foreign substance in the blood.
The Rh factor is a protein in red blood cells. Those with the Rh factor are considered Rh-positive, which would be incompatible with an Rh-negative baby.
The problem occurs when maternal antibodies cross through the umbilical cord to the placenta and destroy fetal red blood cells. The more red blood cells destroyed in the baby’s bloodstream, the worse the life-threatening medical condition.
If left untreated, Rh incompatibility can lead to severe brain damage, hydrops fetalis (amniotic fluid buildup), heart failure, hemolytic anemia, and other health complications that compromise the baby’s health.
In most cases, Rh incompatibility does not happen during a mother’s first pregnancy because the exposure to the child’s Rh-positive blood does not occur until the delivery of the child.
Future Pregnancies Implications
Subsequent pregnancies may be affected if the woman’s immune system develops antibodies in response to exposure to the blood in the unborn baby’s blood. Those developed antibodies will attack the blood of future Rh-positive children that the pregnant woman may carry.
Potential Rh incompatibility can also result from any of the following causes:
- Exposure to Rh-positive blood because of a blood transfusion
- Previous abortion of an Rh-positive child
- A prior ectopic pregnancy 
- Fetal maternal hemorrhaging  during the pregnancy
Treatment to Control the Baby’s Bloodstream
Many people ask how is Rh incompatibility treated during pregnancy. An Rh immunoglobulin medication called RhoGAM is commonly prescribed for Rh-negative women when they first become pregnant.
The medication prevents Rh-positive cells from forming during or after the first pregnancy so that subsequent pregnancies are not affected.
Doctors now use unique immunoglobulin to treat a disorder called Rh incompatibility. However, there is no cure for Rh sensitivity when antibodies are already produced. Therefore, the baby must be closely monitored for signs of anemia and other serious complications throughout the pregnancy.
Many children of Rh-negative mothers with incompatibility also present with jaundice at birth. The elevated bilirubin levels associated with the condition may cause severe brain damage, heart failure, cerebral palsy, or death.
The Side Effects of Rh Incompatibility Medication
In most cases, the prognosis for the condition is very favorable. Therefore, when doctors treat Rh incompatibility properly, there is usually no concern for either the mother or the child. However, there are significant health risks in rare cases where the risk factors are ignored.
The immunoglobulin in the mother’s blood entering the fetus creates a medical emergency with long-lasting effects, including permanent brain damage, catastrophic birth injuries, and high medical expenses.
Hiring Chicago, IL Birth Injury Lawyers to Resolve Your Rh Incompatibility Birth Injury Lawsuit
At Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC, our birth injury lawyers have a proven track record when representing plaintiffs who have been injured during pregnancy or birth.
Our access to medical experts allows us to effectively prove deviation from the standard of care when negotiating a settlement agreement for our clients. Our birth injury lawyers rely on the same experts to provide professional testimony in cases that go to court.
Our law firm provides various legal options to resolve your medical malpractice case successfully when the doctor failed to provide the best care, which led to serious harm.
All confidential or sensitive information you share remains private through an attorney-client relationship. If our legal team is unsuccessful in resolving your case, you will owe us nothing through a contingency fee agreement.