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Uterine rupture is a childbirth complication that could arise if a mother is doing a vaginal delivery. Her uterus may tear and the baby could slip into her abdomen. The baby could suffocate and the mother may experience serious bleeding. Rarely is it fatal in a hospital setting.
It occurs typically in women who are doing a trial of labor after a cesarean since they have uterine scars from their previous C-sections or other uterine surgeries. With every C-section a woman has, the risk of experiencing uterine rupture increases, which is why a woman usually has to continue getting C-sections after she’s had her first one. Less than 1% of pregnant women go through this condition.
If the mother’s uterus ruptures, then her baby could become injured. They may not get the oxygen they need and suffer from hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE), a brain injury that can lead to cerebral palsy, seizures, and developmental delays, among other issues. If the doctors do not pull the baby out quickly – within 10 to 40 minutes – it could die from a lack of oxygen. Roughly 6% of babies die when a mother experiences uterine rupture, while about 1% of mothers die.
Symptoms of Uterine Rupture
If a mother is going through uterine rupture, symptoms will include the following:
- Increased heart rate
- Drop in blood pressure
- Changes in the contraction patterns
- Severe abdominal pain, which feels like something is ripping, followed by diffuse pain and then tenderness in the mother’s abdomen while she’s in labor
- Shortness of breath
- Vaginal bleeding or hemorrhage
- A drop in the baby’s heart rate
There may not be any uterine rupture symptoms, however.
If you baby suffered from an injury like HIE due to a uterine rupture, then symptoms could include:
- Low Apgar scores
- Problems with feeding and breathing
- High or low muscle tone
- Missing reflexes
- Developmental delays
If a doctor believes that uterine rupture is occurring, they may see if there are signs of distress in the baby, like a slow heart rate. They will be able to make a true diagnosis of uterine rupture once they’re doing surgery.
Treatment for Uterine Rupture
There are only two ways to treat uterine rupture: To initiate a C-section and, if there is excessive bleeding, to perform a hysterectomy, where doctors remove the uterus. This means that a woman cannot get pregnant again. Hysterectomies are rarely needed. Doctors may determine that they can repair a woman’s uterus following birth, and they’ll likely give her antibiotics to prevent infection.
If a baby becomes injured due to uterine rupture, then the treatment may include occupational and physical therapy so that they can function as normally as possible as well as improve their physical health. They might need to take medications like anticonvulsants to control their seizures or muscle relaxants and sedatives if they have cerebral palsy. Going on a special diet could improve outcomes. In some scenarios, surgery may be required. A child might need medical care for the rest of their life if they experienced brain damage during labor.
How Do I Know if Medical Malpractice Caused Uterine Rupture?
If your doctor did any of the following, then you may be able to sue for medical malpractice:
- They did not diagnose uterine rupture in a vaginal birth
- They delayed a C-section
- They had you go through with a vaginal birth even though you had uterine rupture
- They did not properly monitor you and/or your baby
- They did not tell you about the risks of a rupture
Essentially, in a medical malpractice case, you need to prove that your doctor breached the duty of care and their negligence caused injury to you and/or your baby. You’ll need evidence such as photographs of your injuries as well as your baby’s injuries (if they have any), witness statements, and your medical records in order to have a solid case.
You will also need to hire an experienced birth injury lawyer. Medical malpractice cases are difficult to push through because it’s particularly difficult to sue doctors. If everyone could sue their doctor, no one would want to become a doctor. Many cases get thrown out. But if you have the right lawyer on your case, you’ll have a much better chance of making sure it goes through and getting the settlement you deserve.
How Much Will I Receive From a Uterine Rupture Settlement?
Uterine rupture can be devastating. Not only could your baby become injured, but also you may lose your ability to have more children. This means that you could be eligible for both economic and noneconomic damages like:
- Medical bills
- Loss of companionship and enjoyment of life
- Pain and suffering
- Future medical care
- Loss of earning capacity
Your current medical bills could be covered, along with future medical care for you and your baby. For instance, if your baby has seizures, then you’ll need money to pay for their anticonvulsant medications. If they have cerebral palsy and need surgery and physical therapy, then that will require compensation as well.
Settlement Offers in a Uterine Rupture Case
Your lawyer will look at your economic and noneconomic damages and then calculate them. They won’t be able to tell you how much compensation you’ll receive until they reach a settlement with the defendant. There is a possibility that no settlement will be reached and you’ll have to go to court. However, if you have legitimate evidence and it looks as if medical malpractice definitely occurred, then your doctor, the defendant, would be likely to settle to avoid the hassle of having to go to court.
Remember that if you do not agree to the settlement amount, your lawyer can go back to the defendant and ask for more. They will keep you in the loop at all times. All you have to do is provide the evidence and details about what happened, and your lawyer will do the rest.
Why Reach Out to a Birth Injury Lawyer?
If you experienced uterine rupture, you’re probably in a fragile state right now. You may also be contending with the fact that your baby is injured. You need to be with your baby and your family and make a full recovery so that you can get back to normal as soon as possible. A lawyer will handle your case while you go on with your life and move past this devastating incident.
Uterine Rupture Birth Injury Attorneys
If you need help from a birth injury lawyer, then Gilman & Bedigian are here and ready to serve you. You can reach out at any time.
Contact Gilman & Bedigian 24/7 for a free consultation at (800) 529-6162.