Having a baby is typically an exciting and hopeful time in a person's life. Millions of women in the United States give birth every year to healthy babies with no serious medical issues. Unfortunately, that's not the case for everyone, as a small percentage of women do experience complications.
It's difficult for a doctor to anticipate certain issues during pregnancy. However, in some situations, a medical professional may fail to identify risk factors or diagnose a condition. If the mother or baby suffers injury as a result of this failure, the doctor or other medical professional could be held liable.
One potentially preventable pregnancy complication is a uterine rupture. Approximately one out of every 1100 births involves a uterine rupture, and almost always occurs in patients who have had prior uterine surgery, typically a cesarean section.
How does a uterine rupture occur?
A uterine rupture is when a tear develops in the wall of the uterus. Commonly these tears, ruptures, or complete separations happen at the site of a previous C-section or fibroid tumor removal. These types of surgeries can strain and weaken the uterine wall due to scar tissue.
The risk of experiencing a uterine rupture increases with every cesarean section. Many women are able to have a vaginal delivery after having a C-section, but they should be considered at-risk and be monitored for signs of distress. Women are also more likely to develop a rupture if they have placental abruption.
What happens during uterine rupture?
Uterine ruptures typically occur during the early stages of labor. The first symptom is often an abnormal fetal heart rate—underscoring the need for constant fetal monitoring during labor. Other symptoms of uterine rupture include abdominal pain, bleeding, rapid pulse, or shock.
In most cases, ruptures are more dangerous for the baby than the mother. If the baby is not delivered quickly following a tear, he or she could suffocate inside the mother's abdomen. Fortunately, such an outcome is rare, and the mother and baby are usually healthy if doctors act fast. When a baby is deprived of oxygen, it can lead to birth injuries like asphyxia, hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy, and cerebral palsy.
When a woman has a uterine rupture during labor, doctors must deliver the baby via emergency cesarean section. A mother can suffer severe blood loss and may require blood transfusions, surgical uterine repair and, in serious cases, hysterectomy.
Your obstetrician and other medical professionals owe you a duty of care during your pregnancy and delivery. If they fail to provide you this care, including identifying risks for complications, and you or your baby suffered injury, they must be held accountable. The experienced Ohio and Kentucky birth injury lawyers at Crandall & Pera Law are here to help. Call us at 877-686-8879 today. You can also fill out our contact form to schedule a no-obligation consultation.