Each year, thousands of women suffer life-changing injuries or die during childbirth because hospitals and healthcare providers fail to take basic safety measures to prevent postpartum hemorrhage. Postpartum hemorrhage is a very serious medical condition when the woman suffers extensive bleeding following the birth of her baby. The hemorrhage can occur immediately after delivery, or in the hours or days following. Whenever it occurs, it is an emergency that must be recognized and treated by the healthcare team. If they fail to diagnose the postpartum hemorrhage, the woman may suffer permanent, devastating injuries, or she may die.
The four most common causes of postpartum hemorrhage include:
- Uterine atony
- Retained placenta
Uterine atony is “the inability of the uterus to contract” which may lead to continuous bleeding. Trauma may occur if the baby becomes stuck in the cervix and an emergency c-section is required or if the vaginal hand technique (inserting a hand into the vagina to push the baby back into the uterus) is used. These procedures can result in uterine lacerations or tears, which can then cause hemorrhage. Retained placenta occurs when not all of the placenta is removed, which can lead to bleeding. Coagulopathy is a bleeding disorder in which the mom is unable to clot her blood, resulting in excessive bleeding.
A recent USA Today article (link) found that hospitals know how to protect mothers from postpartum hemorrhage, but they simply are not taking the necessary steps to do so. These simple steps are ignored–likely to save time and money–, resulting in thousands of women each year suffering catastrophic injuries or death because of the bleeding. In fact, each year more than 50,000 women are severely injured during childbirth, and approximately 700 women die. The USA Today investigation found that more than half of these deaths and injuries could be prevented or eliminated simply by the hospital using better care.
Postpartum hemorrhage can result in absolutely devastating losses. Children are forced to grow up without their mom, husbands are forced to raise the children without their wife, and parents lose their children at horribly young ages. Magnifying this loss is that it occurs during or immediately after childbirth, which is one of the happiest moments in any person’s life. The medicine in postpartum hemorrhage cases can be difficult, so a qualified, experienced, and knowledgeable legal team is necessary. Snyder & Wenner has been protecting the greater Phoenix community for more than 36 years. We hold hospitals and doctors accountable for medical malpractice, and we have handled some of the largest medical malpractice cases in Arizona. If you or a loved one have been injured due to postpartum hemorrhage, please contact us right away.