In this day of medical advancements and miracles, more mothers are dying during childbirth than in previous years. In 1982, only 7.5 women per 100,000 died during childbirth. Today, the number is 18.5 out of every 100,000 women. And these numbers only reflect births that occur in the United States. Although death during childbirth is more common in developing countries, the United States is the only developed country where maternal death rates continue to rise.
While there are many reasons why women are dying during childbirth, some are dying due to excessive bleeding. Following are three types of bleeding emergencies that can result in the death of the mother. These emergencies may also lead to a wrongful death or medical malpractice lawsuit, depending on the particulars of each case.
Placenta previa is a condition where the placenta implants near or on top of the cervix. During labor, the placenta can rupture, causing severe bleeding, shock and death. Unlike placental abruption, which can occur without warning and for no apparent reason, placenta previa can be diagnosed easily with an ultrasound before labor and delivery. Women who have this condition usually have to undergo a cesarean birth to avoid complications. If the condition is not caught and the mother dies, the medical staff may be liable.
Uterine rupture causes severe blood loss and usually occurs before or during labor. This condition is more common in women who have uterine scars from prior gynecological surgeries or cesarean births. Uterine rupture is considered malpractice when family members can prove that the mother died because the medical staff put the uterus under too much pressure, either by manually pushing on the stomach or by giving drugs that strengthen uterine contractions.
Postpartum hemorrhage refers to any bleeding that takes place after birth. Causes for postpartum hemorrhage may include continued bleeding from surgery or a number of causes unrelated to birth, including polyps, cervicitis and cervical cancer. If postpartum hemorrhage is not addressed and treated properly and the mother dies, family members may have a wrongful death case against the doctor and hospital.
The percentage of mothers who die during or immediately after childbirth is on the rise. Wrongful death suits regarding these cases are also on the rise. If a loved one has died or suffered severe complications as the result of uncontrolled bleeding during childbirth, you owe it to yourself and to your loved one to learn about all of your legal options. Contact a wrongful death attorney for more information.