Placenta Previa During Pregnancy: Could it be Medical Malpractice in Portland, OR?

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What is Placenta Previa and How Could it Affect My Baby and Me?  Medical Malpractice Lawyers in Oregon Explain

While many women are fortunate enough to have uncomplicated pregnancies, not all women are so fortunate. Some women face pregnancy complications early on in their pregnancies while others develop complications later in their pregnancies. Pregnancy complications can range from minor complications such as anemia, hyperemesis gravidarum, or urinary tract infections, other complications may be more serious such as gestational diabetes, preeclampsia or placenta previa, also known as PP. Placenta previa is a condition that can be quite serious if not managed appropriately. When a provider fails to diagnose PP or manage it correctly, serious injury can occur to the mother and baby. In cases where errors occur that cause harm to the mother or baby, this is considered to be negligence.  

The negligence of a healthcare provider could result be due to medical malpractice.  This means that a healthcare provider could be liable for medical errors. As a result, victims including parents and their baby could be entitled to compensation under Oregon law in a lawsuit.  Importantly, this includes compensation for medical bills, costs, surgeries, physical therapy, occupational therapy, and other interventions.  Learn more about how we can help recover this compensation for you due to birth injuries that could have been prevented.

What is Placenta Previa?

A women is considered to have PP when there is abnormal implantation of the placenta in the uterus, causing the placenta to partially or completely cover the opening of the mother’s cervix.  This can be quite dangerous because the placenta supplies the baby with food and oxygen through the umbilical cord. 

When the cervix begins to dilate and efface (open up and thin out), there is significant risk for severe bleeding due to the risk of blood vessels connecting the placenta to the uterus potentially tearing. This can place the mother and baby in significant danger. While PP in early pregnancy is not typically a great cause of concern, if this condition lasts throughout pregnancy and close to birth, it is a significant risk for labor and delivery. 

What are the Types of Placenta Previa?

The types of placenta previa include the following:

  • Partial – In women with partial PP, the placenta only partially covers the opening of the cervix
  • Low-Lying – The placenta is positioned at the edge of the cervix
  • Marginal – The placenta pushes against the cervix, but does not cover it
  • Complete or Major – This type of PP is most severe. The placenta covers the entire cervix, making it very dangerous for the mother and baby

What Are the Symptoms?

The most common symptom is vaginal bleeding. This bleeding is typically painless but can be quite serious. Bleeding in the second half of pregnancy in a woman with known PP is quite dangerous. Some women may experience bleeding after intercourse. Women with PP may experience cramping while bleeding. Some women may also have contractions. Other women may exhibit no signs or symptoms at all. 

How is it Diagnosed?

PP is often diagnosed on a routine ultrasound. If it is suspected, a transvaginal ultrasound may be performed to evaluate the placenta, cervix and uterus better. If a woman experiences vaginal bleeding in the second half of her pregnancy, an unscheduled ultrasound may be performed to evaluate if she has PP. While PP detected on ultrasound during the second trimester scan is usually not cause for concern, it is cause for concern if identified on the third trimester scan, or if a woman with known PP experiences bleeding. 

Are There Any Risk Factors?

It may occur for no known reason. Other times, there are certain risk factors which place a woman at increased risk for PP, including the following:

  • Previous delivery of a baby
  • Has had history of it with a prior pregnancy
  • Has scars on the uterus from prior surgeries
  • Is carrying more than one baby
  • Age 35 or older
  • Are a race other than white
  • Cocaine use
  • Smoker

What is the Treatment?

Treatment for PP depends on how far along a woman is in her pregnancy. Additional factors that should be taken into account when determining a treatment plan is the degree of bleeding the woman has experienced as well as the health of the mother and baby. 

A woman with PP is typically closely monitored, especially in the final trimester of her pregnancy if it is still present. If a mother with known PP bleeds during the second half of her pregnancy, she may need to be monitored closely in a hospital setting. Generally speaking, all women with PP at time of delivery have a scheduled c-section to avoid the significant risk of severe bleeding and harm to the mother and baby. 

What are the Possible Complications?

Possible complications include the following:

  • Severe bleeding
  • Pre-term labor
  • Shock due to blood loss
  • Fetal distress due to lack of oxygen from the placenta no longer functioning as it should
  • Health risks to the baby if the baby is born prematurely
  • Blood loss for the baby
  • Premature delivery of the baby
  • Hysterectomy if the placenta will not come away from the uterine lining
  • Death

How Can Complications Be Due To Medical Malpractice?

While PP is not due to a provider’s error, management of it as well as diagnosis of the condition is the responsibility of the physician and other healthcare providers. When a provider fails to diagnose the condition or appropriately manage the condition, it creates significant risks for the mother and newborn. Examples as to how complications can be related to medical malpractice include the following: 

  • Failure to diagnose the condition
  • Failure to appropriately monitor the mother and baby with known PP
  • Failing to to perform a c-section at time of delivery
  • Opting for a vaginal birth with known PP
  • Failing to appropriately monitor a woman diagnosed with PP who is encountering bleeding
  • Mismanagement of bleeding during delivery

Recovering Compensation for Placenta Previa Injuries Due to Medical Malpractice in Portland, OR

A negligent healthcare provider could cause serious and life-changing injuries to both the mother and the baby.  In fact, a negligence healthcare provider could even cause life-changing injuries for a family.  Luckily, Oregon law allows for victims of another’s negligence, including a healthcare provider like a doctor, nurse, OB-GYN, technician, CRNA, and other health professional, to recover compensation for their injuries.  If the mother or child suffered serious injuries due to placenta previa in Oregon, we can help.

Ask Our Portland, OR Medical Malpractice Law Firm for Help Today

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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