Postpartum hemorrhage is severe or excessive bleeding in the mother’s body that occurs after the delivery of a child. The choice to perform a cesarean section, forceps delivery or vacuum delivery can often be the underlying cause or a contributing factor to the amount of bleeding that occurs. In most cases, if the hemorrhage is detected and treated promptly, the prognosis is very good and the mother is able to recover with minimal complications. Failure to properly diagnose postpartum hemorrhaging can have disastrous consequences, however, including the death of the mother if the bleeding is not stopped in time.
What Causes Postpartum Hemorrhage?
After delivery of a child, the placenta must become detached from the uterine wall and passed as what is referred to as the afterbirth. The most common cause of postpartum hemorrhage is uterine atony— the inability of the uterus to contract hard enough to prevent blood vessels from bleeding out during the passing of the afterbirth. Other causes of hemorrhaging include the following.
- Premature detachment of the placenta from the uterus.
- Incomplete separation of the placenta, causing bleeding where remaining pieces of the placenta remain attached to the uterine wall.
- Long or difficult labor.
- Forceps delivery.
- Cesarean section.
- Vacuum assisted delivery.
- Side effects of medications used to induce labor or reduce contractions.
- The presence of more than one placenta— such as in the delivery of twins or triplets.
- Inflammation or infection of the uterus.
The Need for Immediate Treatment of Women With a Postpartum Hemorrhage
Procedures such as a forceps delivery or vacuum assisted delivery are often the cause of hemorrhaging and doctors must weigh the risks before electing to proceed with these procedures. Postpartum hemorrhaging causes rapid blood loss and threatens the mother’s life if it is not detected and treated immediately. Severe blood loss causes low blood pressure and may send the mother into shock. Doctors are able to detect hemorrhaging by monitoring the mother’s heart rate, blood pressure and red blood cell count; and react accordingly if excessive bleeding is present.
Surgical intervention may be required in some cases to stop the bleeding and save the mother’s life. If the hemorrhage was the result of medical error, the hospital and its staff may be liable for the cost of any additional procedure deemed necessary to resolve the issue. If the mother dies as a result of hemorrhaging and it is determined that failure to detect or treat the bleeding promptly was the cause, there may be cause for a wrongful death lawsuit.
Representing Families In The Greater Chicagoland Area and Beyond In Serious Maternal Injury Matters
The Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers is a leading birth injury law firm in Illinois with proven success representing those who have suffered undue harm because of medical malpractice. If you or a loved one was injured or died while giving birth, contact us today to schedule a free consultation with an attorney. Your lawyer will evaluate your case, address your concerns and explain your rights and the process of litigation so that you know what to expect going forward. We only require payment when we have won or settled your case.