Placental abruption, in most cases, is not usually preventable. It occurs when the placenta separates prematurely from the uterine wall, causing severe distress to the infant and often requiring an emergency C-section delivery. The placenta is the source through which an infant receives nutrition, and allows for gas exchange and waste removal. Thus, when it prematurely severs, this puts the infant in danger as the oxygen supply becomes compromised. Lack of oxygen may cause severe brain damage, leading to lifelong health problems and even death. How a physician responds to this medical emergency will greatly determine the outcome.
It is also important to understand some of the various causes of placental abruption. Risk factors include abnormal uterine blood vessels, the trauma of contractions during labor, high blood pressure, smoking or drinking during pregnancy, or if the mother has previously had a placental abruption. A mother is also at risk for injury in these cases if not treated immediately, leading to hemorrhaging.
Treatment for this may not always involve an emergency C-section. A doctor should be able to assess the severity of this condition by considering certain factors. Is the baby in distress? How far along is the mother? In some cases, a less serious abruption may heal on its own. Additionally, a mother may be given IV fluids, blood transfusions, or kept in the hospital for observation. That said, although a C-section should not be the go-to decision without consideration for any of these variables, a delayed C-section may also cause serious injury to the infant.
Doctors have a lot of power over what path your pregnancy or delivery will take when a placental abruption occurs. A careless decision, or a delayed decision, can impact the health of both the infant and mother, causing dire consequences. At The Law Offices of Dr. Michael M. Wilson M.D., J.D. & Associates, we specialize in medical malpractice law and handle birth injury cases. If you or a loved one has suffered at the hands of a medical professional, call 202.223.4488 for a free consultation.
Dr. Michael M. Wilson is an attorney and a physician who earned his undergraduate degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and his legal and medical degrees from Georgetown University. He has focused in the area of medical malpractice for more than three decades and secured more than $100 million in settlements and verdicts on behalf of clients throughout the country. He is admitted to practice in the District of Columbia and New York as well as the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia and the U.S. Supreme Court. He is listed in America’s Top 100 High Stakes Litigators.