The hours and days immediately following childbirth should be some of the most special in a new mom’s life. After months of pregnancy and the trials of labor and delivery, mom and baby finally get to meet and the journey of parenthood begins. In these delicate moments while your body recovers and your life adapts to your expanding family’s needs, you should be able to rest easy knowing that your health is in the capable hands of your doctors and nurses. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. Some women experience complications after childbirth that are a direct result of some failure on the part of their medical providers. In other cases, newborn babies are not given the proper neonatal care. This failure to meet the necessary standard of care is called postpartum negligence and it is a form of medical malpractice. Please call one of our medical malpractice attorneys at (312) 236-2900.
What is Postpartum Care?
Childbirth is traumatic for a woman’s body, and your postpartum care should address any and all needs that your body, or your baby, has after delivery. This includes but is not limited to:
- Monitoring of Vital Signs – Childbirth will bring most women to an unparalleled point of exhaustion. Your medical staff will routinely check your vitals (blood pressure, heart rate, oxygen levels) immediately following delivery.
- Wound Care – Some women experience vaginal tearing after natural childbirth and others have surgical wounds from a Caesarean section. Your hospital staff should properly treat and dress these wounds as necessary to promote healing and prevent infection.
- Assessment and Monitoring of the Uterus – Whether you’ve given birth naturally or through c-section, your medical team will be assessing your uterus size and firmness to be sure that your body is responding appropriately after childbirth. Additionally, your doctors and nurses will be checking for any excessive or unusual bleeding.
- Neonatal Care for Your Baby – While you’re busy recovering, your new baby has needs too, and it is the hospital staff’s job to know what your newborn needs and to respond accordingly. This can include monitoring vitals, responding to respiratory distress, treating jaundice, or knowing when a neonatal specialist is needed.
What is Postpartum Negligence?
Postpartum negligence is any action or inaction on the part of your healthcare provider/s that fails to meet the requisite standard of care of a medical professional. Your doctors and nurses have a duty to provide you with a certain level of care, and when they breach that duty in respect to you or your child immediately following delivery, they are committing postpartum negligence, an actionable type of medical malpractice.
What complications often result from postpartum negligence?
- Infection – Improper wound care or failure to recognize or treat an infection can cause serious complications and even death.
- Postpartum Hemorrhage – If you experience excessive bleeding and your doctor does not act fast enough, you could experience serious complications. Your doctor should be especially mindful that no products of conception were left undelivered and still inside of you, as they can cause infection and bleeding.
- Uterine rupture – A uterine rupture can be a life threatening problem due to the often excessive loss of blood. This can be caused by a physician who applies excessive pressure to a patient’s abdomen or who improperly uses Pitocin (a labor inducing drug).
- Endomyometritis – This can be a dangerous infection of the uterine wall and should be identified and treated by a physician who knows your body, your medical history, and your risk factors.
- Eclampsia – This is a severe form of preeclampsia that must be carefully treated before and after delivery. Your doctor should carefully monitor your treatment, as too much or too little could cause additional complications.
- Harm to Your Newborn – Your new baby can’t tell anyone what hurts. It is up to your doctors and nurses to know the signs and symptoms of a child in crisis and to respond effectively and efficiently.
Have You Suffered from Postpartum Negligence?
If you or your child has suffered the above complications or any other harm due to your doctor’s negligence after delivery, please call Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C. at (312) 236-2900 to speak with a Chicago injury attorney. We know that suffering an injury at the hands of a trusted healthcare professional is a traumatic event under any circumstances, especially when you’ve just given birth. You may have a case, and we can help shoulder some of the stress so you can focus on recovery and your new baby.