Memphis Postpartum Negligence Attorneys
Advocating for the injured in Memphis, Jackson and throughout West Tennessee
In the minutes and hours after a woman has given birth, she has many needs that must be thoughtfully attended to while she rests and recovers and gets acquainted with her precious newborn baby. However, during this precarious time, some women may experience complications brought about by the negligence of her team of medical attendants.
Sometimes the baby may not be given appropriate neonatal care and ends up with complications that could have been prevented; sometimes the mother does, too. When medical personnel fail to act or act in a way that does not conform to an accepted standard of care, injuries resulting from postpartum negligence may be considered medical malpractice.
At the law firm of Bailey & Greer, PLLC, we understand that dealing with an injury caused by the postpartum negligence of a trusted doctor or hospital is traumatic. Our birth injury attorneys in Memphis and Jackson are here to answer your questions and offer thoughtful legal guidance.
- What is postpartum negligence?
- What should postpartum care include?
- What kinds of complications can result from postpartum negligence?
- Can babies suffer harm from postpartum negligence?
- What is the value of my West Tennessee postpartum negligence claim?
- How can a Memphis postpartum negligence attorney help my case?
What is postpartum negligence?
Postpartum injuries are those that occur in the hours, days, or even weeks after childbirth and can affect both the baby and the mother. Post-delivery, both mother and child are vulnerable and should be carefully monitored for signs of injury or distress. When a doctor or medical staff fails to do so and either suffers harm as a result, postpartum injuries can occur.
What should postpartum care include?
According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), optimal postpartum care “should become an ongoing process, rather than a single encounter, with services and support tailored to each woman’s individual needs.” This care should include assessments and discussions about:
- Mood and emotional well-being. Screening for postpartum depression, following up on existing mood disorders, screen for any substance abuse disorders, and provide guidance regarding local resources and support.
- Infant care and feeding. Assessing comfort and confidence with caring for their newborn, including feeding methods and timing, breastfeeding-related concerns or pain, any material needs, and guidance regarding local resources and support.
- Sexuality, contraception, and birth spacing. Providing guidance about sexuality and resuming intercourse, assessing future reproductive plans, timing, risks and benefits of repeat pregnancies, and recommendations on patient’s preferred birth control method.
- Sleep and fatigue. Discussing options for coping with sleep disturbances and fatigue, engaging family members and/or friends for assistance.
- Physical recovery from birth. Assessing and treating any incision pain as well as providing guidance for recovery, referring to physical therapy if necessary, providing guidance regarding resumption of physical activity and healthy weight.
- Chronic disease management. Discussing any pregnancy complications and implications for future reproduction and long-term health, performing any necessary follow-up testing, reviewing current medications and any effects on breastfeeding, referring for follow-up care.
- Health maintenance. Performing well-woman screenings, including a pelvic examination, and providing necessary immunizations.
All relevant details from these visits should be noted in a mother’s medical records. Further, when a doctor fails to provide proper postpartum follow-up, both mother and child can suffer physical trauma or even wrongful death.
What kinds of complications can result from postpartum negligence?
Serious injuries resulting from postpartum negligence can affect both parent and child. These can include:
- Postpartum hemorrhage (PPH). This is excessive bleeding after the baby has been delivered. The doctor must act quickly to determine the cause of the bleeding which could be residual products of conception that remain in the uterus, a ruptured uterus or an infection. PPH, if left untreated, can lead to maternal death.
- Endomyometritis. This is a potentially dangerous infection of the uterine wall which must be treated right away in order to avoid further complications.
- Eclampsia. A severe form of preeclampsia characterized by seizures. Eclampsia must be treated quickly and precisely because any error in the dosing of the medication could lead to respiratory distress, paralysis, coma or a heart attack.
- Infection caused by inadequate care of the mother’s wounds, or the failure to recognize the infection which can lead to sepsis. Infections can cause harm to both mother and child.
- Obstetrical anesthesia errors, which can include oxygen deprivation and hypotension.
- Ruptured uterus. Uterine rupture can occur before or during labor, and can be a partial or complete tear. Major causes of uterine rupture include improper use of labor-inducing drugs like Pitocin, late delivery, multiple births, or excess amniotic fluid.
According to the Wall Street Journal:
The U.S. has a maternal mortality rate double that of most other high-income countries, including Britain, Canada and Australia, according to the New York City-based Commonwealth Fund, a healthcare research foundation. The CDC says that about two-thirds of pregnancy-related deaths are preventable; factors include lack of access to care, delayed diagnoses and missed warning signs.
Can babies suffer harm from postpartum negligence?
Yes. When medical staff fails to take care of the needs of the newborn in the hours after their birth, and the child sustains complications and injuries resulting from a deviation from the accepted standard of care, this can be seen as medical malpractice.
Examples of postpartum negligence include the failure to:
- Recognize distress in the newborn
- Recognize and treat jaundice
- Transfer the infant to the NICU (neonatal intensive care unit)
- Recognize and treat RSD (respiratory distress disorder)
- Test for low Apgar scores
- Assess for a normal heart rate
When a medical professional makes an error that a reasonable physician would not have made under the same circumstances, and that error results in injury and losses, you likely have a claim for medical malpractice.
What is the value of my West Tennessee postpartum negligence claim?
Although every injury and every person is different, our birth injury attorneys seek maximum compensation for your losses, including:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Loss of future income
- Pain and suffering
Remember, under Tennessee statute of limitations, you must file a malpractice claim within three years of the date the injury occurred, or within one year of the date the injury is discovered. Contact one of our experienced attorneys as soon as possible so we can begin building the strongest case possible on your and your child’s behalf.
How can a Memphis postpartum negligence attorney help my case?
At Bailey & Greer, PLLC, our West Tennessee personal injury attorneys know what a devastating impact a birth injury can have on the life of a child. As a parent, your dreams for your child’s potential and future are shattered and you are looking not only for justice for your family, but the assurance that no other family will suffer as you have from such a tragic mistake. Each family that we represent receives individualized attention from our compassionate postpartum negligence attorneys. We are tireless advocates for those who have been injured due to medical negligence. We work to get results for you.
Legal guidance when you’re harmed by postpartum negligence in West Tennessee
If you have suffered an injury caused by postpartum negligence, we want to talk to you. Our medical negligence lawyers in Memphis and Jackson are strong advocates for the rights of those who have suffered an injury at the hands of medical professionals. Please call the law office of Bailey & Greer, PLLC at 901-475-7434 or fill out our contact form to schedule a free consultation with one of our lawyers.