Post-Partum Haemorrhage Negligence

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Having a baby can be the most wonderful experience a woman can have. However, it is a very physically traumatic experience for both the mother and the child. The complications that can arise are plentiful, and each one has to be taken seriously. One of the more common complications is a Postpartum Hemorrhage, or bleeding of the mother due to childbirth.

Every woman will lose blood during childbirth. As the placenta separates from the uterus, the uterine wall will cause a noticeable amount of blood loss. If the birth was a c-section, mothers are usually more susceptible to bleeding and will lose more blood than if the birth was vaginally.

What separates postpartum hemorrhaging from normal bleeding due to childbirth is in the level of bleeding and either the inability for the body to clot and stop the bleeding by itself, or the excessive quantity of the bleeding. Whichever case it is, the abnormal amount of bleeding requires medical attention to stop it, or the mother’s life is at risk.

Aside from the expected breakaway of the placenta from the uterine wall, the other possible causes of postpartum hemorrhaging are cervical lacerations from the birth, a deep tear in the vagina or large episiotomy, or less frequently a ruptured or inverted uterus. If the problem lies in the body’s inability to stop the bleeding, that could be due to a clotting disorder, either developed during pregnancy or as an inherited condition. Preeclampsia and HELLP syndrome are two of the most common forms of a pregnancy-induced inability to clot. If the bleeding occurs within 24 hours of the birth, it is called early postpartum hemorrhaging, and if it happens after the 24 hour period, it’s called late postpartum hemorrhaging.

If this complication occurs, there are a few different actions that can be taken to alleviate the issue. Because this is usually caused by the separation of the placenta due to a loss of tone in the uterus, the mother may undergo a treatment in which the goal is to contract the uterus. This can usually be accomplished with a dose of oxytocin, ensuring your bladder is empty due to a cathode, and in more extreme cases, a physical massaging and compression by hand. If it requires a physical compression, the doctor or nurse will use one hand inside the vagina and another on the exterior of the belly to compress the uterus to its normal size. If the placenta has not separated yet, they might do that manually as well.

The entire time this occurs, the mother’s blood pressure and heart rate will be taken, as that is an indicator of recovery. A continual IV drip will provide fluid to alleviate any further complication. In very severe cases, if the blood loss continues, it will require a blood transfusion and a possible hysterectomy to stop the bleeding. This is extremely rare, as most postpartum hemorrhaging stops on its own.

Most medical negligence cases regarding severe post-partum haemorrhaging involve excessive bleeding that isn't identified and appropriately managed. In some cases, the bleeding is so severe and delayed treatment has resulted in the death of the mother. Not all post-partum haemorrhage situations are eligible for compensation. Much depends on the cause of the situation, the standard of care provided, and whether there has been any resultant damage sufficient enough to be eligible for compensatory damages.

If you would like legal advice regarding the circumstances of your haemorrhage, contact our legal team.





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