When solicitors are considering making a claim for birth injury where the placenta is retained in error or negligence, injury can occur. In general situations, the complete placenta and the membranes that surround the baby in the uterus are delivered straight after the baby is born. However, there may be some cases where parts of the placenta and/or the membranes may be retained in the uterus.
A maternity negligence claim for compensation or birth injury, where the placenta is retained, refers to a placenta that has not undergone placental expulsion within 30 minutes of the delivery of the baby. This can cause haemorrhaging or infection to the mother. Failure to diagnose retained placenta can be negligent and the injuries suffered could have been preventable meaning a claim for maternity negligence compensation could be possible.
According to the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists Retained placenta increases the risks of a postpartum haemorrhage by five-fold .
Types of retained placenta
Following the delivery of the infant, there are three main types of retained placenta which can all be treated by manual removal of the placenta:
• Placenta adherens, when the myometrium fails to contract behind the placenta.
• Trapped placenta, when a detached placenta is trapped behind a closed cervix
• Partial accrete, when there is a small area of adherent placenta preventing detachment.
Management of labour at birth
During the third stage of labour, active management on the part of the medical professionals is encouraged as it is associated with a lower risk of postpartum haemorrhage (the loss of more than 500 ml or 1,000 ml of blood within the first 24 hours following childbirth) and blood transfusion.
If the labour has progressed normally and the mother requests physiological management of the third stage, she should be supported in this request. However, if there has been significant haemorrhage, there must be attempts made to discover if the placenta has separated- as indicated by:
• A sudden rush of blood.
• Fundus moves higher and becomes rounded
Active management of the third stage is encouraged as it is associated with a lower risk of postpartum haemorrhage and blood transfusion. If the labour has progressed normally and the mother requests physiological management of the third stage, she should be supported in this request. However, if there has been significant haemorrhage, attempts should be made to discover if the placenta has separated – as indicated by:
• A sudden rush of blood.
• Fundus moves higher and becomes rounded.
• Increase in length of part of the umbilical cord visible at the vulva.
• Raising of fundus does not cause the cord to decrease in length.
Compensation for maternity negligence claims retained placenta
We appreciate that is it a difficult for parents to sue the experts but things can go wrong. We are not all perfect. The long term damage to the baby and family can be emotionally and physically demanding. A maternity negligence claim, often called a birth injury claim dfue to a retained placenta can be made against the Hospital concerned if it is believed that there is a negligence claim for compensation for the birth injury in this case.
Please contact us now if you wish to consider make a birth injury claim for retained placenta.
Further reading on clinical negligence compensation claims:
Author Ikram Miah, Para-Legal specialising in clinical medicine.