Medical Malpractice Related Mismanagement of Placenta Previa Leading to Complications

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When the Mismanagement of Placenta Previa Could be Medical Malpractice

While many pregnancies are uncomplicated, there are times when people encounter complications either during their pregnancies or during the labor and delivery of their baby. Some pregnancy complications are minor and very treatable, while others must require additional precautions and care. While minor complications may include issues such as urinary tract infections, hyperemesis gravidarum or anemia, more serious complications include issues such as placenta previa, preeclampsia, nuchal cord, intrauterine growth restriction or gestational diabetes. Placenta previa can be quite serious if not diagnosed in a timely manner or treated appropriately. Mismanagement of placenta previa can lead to complications for the mother or baby is considered to be medical malpractice in Oregon.

These complications can result in many different types of damages.  For a family, the damages are medical bills, lost wages, and the emotional distress of seeing a loved one go through this harm.  For a baby, the damages are future medical bills, lost future earnings, around the clock nursing care, and pain and suffering resulting from the harm.  These damages can result in a lifetime of pain and suffering for both the family and the baby.  An experienced birth injury lawyer handling cases like the mismanagement of placenta previa could be able to help recover these damages and more to help your loved one live a life that is not burdened by damages due to a negligence healthcare provider.

Placenta Previa Explained

Placenta previa, also known as PP, occurs when the placenta implants in the wrong spot on the uterus, causing complete or partial covering over the mother’s cervix. The reason why this is so dangerous is because when the mother’s cervix begins to efface and dilate during labor, she is at a very dangerous risk for severe bleeding because of the risk of the blood vessels that connect the placenta and uterus may tear. While there are many cases of PP that self-corrects during pregnancy, there are times when the it does not resolve and therefore requires close monitoring and specialized treatment. 

Management of Placenta Previa

Placenta previa is managed based on the severity as well as how far along the mother is. Additionally, the degree of symptoms the mother has experienced (i.e. bleeding) is also taken into account when determining the best course of treatment for PP. 

Women in the first trimester are typically just monitored as there is a good chance that the PP could reverse itself, while women in the second half of their pregnancy who have PP have more careful monitoring and sometimes bedrest. If a woman with PP experiences bleeding in the second half of her pregnancy, she may be hospitalized. Almost all women with PP have a c-section due to the fact that a vaginal delivery can be quite dangerous given the risk of severe bleeding.

If a healthcare provider fails to provide proper management of PP, including the safe delivery of the baby, this is considered to be medical malpractice. 

There are four types of PP, including partial, low-lying, marginal or complete or major. Partial PP is the least serious as the placenta only partially covers the opening of the cervix. The placenta is positioned at the edge of the cervix in cases of low-lying. In cases of marginal PP, the placenta is pushed against the cervix but does not cover it. Complete or major PP is considered to be the most serious as is completely covers the entire cervix. This can cause great danger to the mother and baby, so intervention is always indicated. 

Presentation and Diagnosis of Placenta Previa

Women most often are diagnosed with PP through the use of ultrasound. Oftentimes, a routine ultrasound detects PP, but some women present with vaginal bleeding, prompting an ultrasound that then diagnoses the condition. This type of ultrasound would not be routine, but would be considered to be unscheduled. If a trans abdominal ultrasound shows suspicion of placenta previa, a transvaginal ultrasound should be conducted to confirm the presence of the condition. 

Who is at Risk for PP?

While there are some risk factors that may put a woman at risk for PP, there are times when placenta previa occurs with no known cause. Examples of risk factors for the condition include the following:

  • Women 35 or older
  • History of it with prior pregnancies
  • Prior delivery
  • Cocaine use
  • Tobacco use
  • Carrying multiple babies
  • Scarring on the uterus from prior surgeries

These are just some of the potential risk factors that put women at risk for placenta previa, but it is important to note that PP can happen to any women during any of their pregnancies. 

Complications of PP

There are many complications that can occur in the setting of a woman who has placenta previa. Possible complications may include the following:

  • Hysterectomy if the placenta is unable to be detached from the uterine lining
  • Pre-term labor
  • Hemorrhage (severe bleeding)
  • Shock as the result of blood loss
  • Maternal distress
  • Fetal distress 
  • Newborn complications from being born too prematurely
  • Premature delivery
  • Infant blood loss
  • Death of the infant or mother
  • Oxygen deprivation of the newborn, causing severe brain injury

Placenta Previa Medical Malpractice

While there are times when a mother with PP encounters complications but is provided the best possible care, there are instances when a healthcare provider may fail to diagnose the condition, manage the condition during the mother’s pregnancy, or may fail to properly and safely deliver the baby. Complications that occur as a result of mismanagement is considered to be negligence. Examples of placenta previa medical malpractice include the following: 

  • Failing to diagnose placenta previa
  • Performing a vaginal birth when a c-section is indicated, leading to severe bleeding or harm
  • Delay in performing a c-section
  • Failing to properly monitor a mother with PP during her pregnancy
  • Failing to prescribe appropriate treatment during pregnancy (i.e bed rest, pelvic rest, hospitalization, etc.)
  • Failing to order proper testing to diagnose it
  • Mismanagement of hemorrhage during delivery 

These are just some of the many ways in which a provider can cause harm to the mother or baby in cases of PP. 

Mismanagement of Placenta Previa Resulting in Medical Malpractice: Ask Our Birth Injury Lawyer for Help

If you or a loved one have been seriously injured or killed as a result of medical malpractice contact the Oregon Medical Malpractice Lawyers at Kuhlman Law at our number below or fill out the intake form.  We offer a free initial case evaluation and handle cases on a contingency fee which means that you pay no money unless we recover.

Our law firm handles cases throughout the state including Bend and Portland Oregon, Redmond, Central Oregon, Sisters, Madras, Multnomah County, Deschutes County, Salem, Eugene, Corvallis, Lane County, Medford, Gresham, La Grande, Albany, Medford, Beaverton, Umatilla, Pendleton,  Cottage Grove, Florence, Oregon City, Springfield, Keizer, Grants Pass, McMinnville, Tualatin, West Linn, Forest Grove, Wilsonville, Newberg, Roseburg, Lake Oswego, Klamath Falls, Happy Valley, Tigard, Ashland, Milwakie, Coos Bay, The Dalles,  St. Helens, Sherwood, Central Point, Canby, Troutdale, Hermiston, Silverton, Hood River, Newport, Prineville, Astoria, Tillamook, Lincoln City, Hillsboro, and Vancouver, Washington.

We also have an office in Minneapolis, Minnesota and take medical malpractice cases throughout the Twin Cities, including St. Paul, Hennepin County, Ramsey County, Dakota County, Washington County, Anoka County, Scott County, Blaine, Stillwater, and Saint Paul Minnesota.

For a free case evaluation


(541) 385-1999 in Bend, Oregon
(503) 479-3646 in Portland, Oregon
(612) 444-3374 in Minnesota

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