Birthing Injuries to Mothers Is on the Rise
When an injury occurs during or shortly after the birth of a baby, the focus is usually on the health of the baby. However, medical errors can also cause injury to the mother. These sometimes devastating injuries may have been avoided if the mother had received the proper medical care.
What’s more, birthing injuries are on the rise. According to a recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), emergencies during delivery, such as respiratory distress, severe bleeding, kidney failure, and cardiac arrest, increased by 75 percent in the decade from 1999-2009. Furthermore, in the days immediately following delivery, severe complications for mothers more than doubled over the same decade.
The report partially attributes the increase in maternal medical emergencies to the rise of high-risk multiple births, obese mothers, and advanced maternal age. Nevertheless, many of the injuries occur due to the direct actions of the medical care professionals or by their failure to test for or treat dangerous conditions. If doctors and medical staff fail to notice the problems they have been trained to watch out for and fail to act promptly, the injuries to the mother can occur very quickly and can be life threatening.
These injuries can be many and varied. They include the failure to diagnose and treat the following conditions:
- Preeclampsia (pregnancy induced hypertension)
- Placenta previa (when the placenta blocks the baby’s descent through the cervix)
- Placenta acretia (where the placenta adheres to the uterine wall)
- Hematoma (a collection of blood outside blood vessels)
- Spinal anesthesia injuries
- Uterine infection
If these abnormal conditions aren’t recognized and the medical care staff fails to take appropriate steps — before, during and after childbirth — both the mother and baby are at risk.
While great advances have been made regarding the health and safety of babies during delivery, the recent report of the CDC is a reminder for all health care professionals to focus on the health and safety of the mother as well. If you or a loved one has suffered an injury in childbirth and you believe that medical negligence was at fault, please consult with an experienced birth injury attorney.