Rh Incompatibility Complication Attorney
Were you or your unborn baby the victim of medical 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.
Call our birth injury attorneys today at (888) 424-5757 (toll-free phone number) or use the contact form to schedule a free case evaluation.
Rh incompatibility remains a leading cause of potentially 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 referred to Rh incompatibility as hemolytic disease of the newborn that affects the fetal red blood cells.
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 that can cause severe injuries, miscarriage, or a stillborn baby.
Proper precautions and monitoring are required for Rh-negative mothers during their pregnancies. Most Rh incompatibility complications can be avoided if the patient's doctor is aware of the problem involving the mother and baby's blood and treats it correctly.
Rh-Positive Blood and Rh-Negative Blood Destroying Red Blood Cells
The Rh factor can dramatically affect pregnancy when the blood from a Rh-positive fetus passes into the bloodstream of an Rh-negative mother. At that point, the mother's body does not recognize the Rh-positive blood and will begin to create antibodies in the mother's bloodstream.
At some point, 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 proper blood work 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 administer two immune globulin shots to a Rh-negative woman 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.
Rh Incompatibility Medical Malpractice Lawsuits
The mother's Rh factor is a genetic trait. However, a Rh blood incompatibility may be an avoidable life-threatening condition that could be detected with a blood test in expecting 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 who have been affected by acts of negligence during pregnancy and delivery. Give us a phone call or fill out a contact form to schedule your free consultation.
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 on red blood cells. Those with the Rh factor are considered Rh-positive, which would be incompatible with a 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 the baby's severe brain damage, hydrops fetalis (fluid buildup), heart failure, anemia, and other 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.
Subsequent pregnancies may be affected if the woman's immune system develops antibodies in response to exposure to the unborn baby's blood, and those antibodies will attack the blood of future Rh-positive children that the mother may carry.
Rh incompatibility can also result from any of the following causes.
- Exposure to Rh-positive blood because of a blood transfusion
- Previous abortion of a Rh-positive child
- A prior ectopic pregnancy
- Fetal maternal hemorrhaging during the pregnancy
Diagnosing Rh Incompatibility
Health care providers will draw blood to test for potential Rh incompatibility. Testing determines if the infant has developed severe hemolytic anemia. Additionally, in some cases, the physician may order an ultrasound to screen for Rh incompatibility.
The obstetrician might choose to closely monitor the expecting mother's pregnancy and the fetus for any problems related to hemolytic anemia. The physician will also oversee treatment that prevents any complications in further pregnancies.
A hematologist or pediatrician will treat any infant born with hemolytic anemia or other related issues, like blood diseases.
If the mother is Rh-negative, the doctor will likely order an antibody screen that reveals Rh antibodies in the patient's blood. The presence of Rh antibodies could reveal that the expecting mother was exposed to Rh-positive blood before and could be at risk for Rh incompatibility.
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. If the biological father also is Rh-negative, the infant has a 0% chance of being born with Rh-positive blood and is not at risk for Rh incompatibility.
However, if the infant's father tested Rh-positive, or there is no way to determine his Rh status, the obstetrician or hematologist may perform an amniocentesis test. During this test, the physician removes amniotic fluid from the amniotic sac using a hollow needle.
An amniocentesis test can identify if the fetus is Rh-positive and can measure the baby's bilirubin levels. If bilirubin levels are high, it usually indicates that the baby's red blood cells are dying too quickly, increasing the risk of hemolytic anemia.
The prenatal care provider must diagnose Rh incompatibility early and provide the best treatment, RhoGAM, to prevent serious health complications.
Treatment and Prognosis
An immunoglobulin medication called RhoGAM is commonly prescribed for Rh-negative mothers when they first become pregnant. This 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 Rh incompatibility. However, there is no cure for Rh sensitivity when antibodies are already produced. Therefore, the baby must be closely monitored through the pregnancy for signs of anemia and other serious complications.
Many children of Rh-negative mothers with incompatibility also present with jaundice at birth, and the elevated bilirubin levels associated with the condition may cause severe brain damage, heart failure, cerebral palsy, or death.
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 is significant risk 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.
Rh Incompatibility Caused by Medical Malpractice
Due to the preventable nature of complications associated with Rh incompatibility, it is vital to hold doctors accountable if their failure to perform the proper tests or administer the right care was the cause of birth injuries.
Did Rh incompatibility complications cause your child harm? If so, it is crucial to discuss your case with a qualified personal injury lawyer to determine if negligence or medical malpractice played a part in the mother's harm or the child's birth injury.
Hiring Birth Injury Lawyers to Resolve Your Rh Incompatibility Malpractice 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.
Contact us today at (888) 424-5757 (toll-free phone call) or use the contact form to schedule a free consultation. Let us answer your questions about Rh incompatibility medical malpractice and let you know more about your rights.
Our birth injury attorneys will work tirelessly to ensure you recover compensation to pay for your medical bills, future medical expenses, lost wages, pain, and suffering. In addition, our law firm provides various legal options to successfully resolve your medical malpractice case when the doctor failed to provide the best care that 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.
Many medical malpractice cases have already been resolved through million-dollar settlements to ensure families have sufficient financial compensation for providing all the treatment and caring their child requires.