There are many mechanisms in your body that are there to support a baby when you are pregnant. From the uterus to the umbilical cord to hormone production, a woman’s body is prepared to grow and sustain her child. The placenta is another one of these necessary mechanisms. Its role is to supply oxygen and nutrients to the baby as it develops in the womb. The placenta is meant to lightly attach itself to the inside of the uterus so that it can later be passed easily and without injury during the delivery.
When the placenta attaches too deeply, however, trouble can arise. A good medical staff knows how to diagnose and properly treat the condition, but if that team makes a mistake whether through negligence, ignorance, or carelessness, you need to seek out the help of a medical malpractice attorney.
What Is placenta accreta?
Placenta accreta is a medical condition that occurs during pregnancy when the placenta attaches too deeply and firmly to the uterine wall. In a normal pregnancy, the placenta detaches easily from the uterine wall after childbirth. However, in cases of placenta accreta, the placenta’s blood vessels and tissue grow too deeply into the uterine wall, making it difficult for the placenta to detach naturally.
Placenta accreta is categorized into different types based on the severity of attachment:
- Placenta accreta. The placenta attaches to the uterine wall but does not penetrate the muscle layer.
- Placenta increta. The placenta attaches and penetrates into the uterine muscle.
- Placenta percreta. The placenta attaches and penetrates through the uterine wall, potentially reaching nearby organs like the bladder.
Placenta accreta is believed to be associated with irregularities in the uterine lining (such as placenta previa), often arising from scarring following a cesarean section (c-section) or other surgical procedures on the uterus. However, there are instances when placenta accreta develops without any previous history of uterine surgery. Other risk factors may include being over the age of 35 at the time of the pregnancy, and previous deliveries.
What are complications of placenta accreta?
Placenta accreta is categorized as a high-risk pregnancy complication, leading to the following potential issues:
- Excessive bleeding prior to, during, or after childbirth, necessitating blood transfusions and intensive care unit care.
- Premature delivery. (Premature birth rates are excessively high in Kentucky)
- Extended hospitalization, potentially even before delivery.
- Hysterectomy (surgical removal of the uterus), which eliminates the possibility of future childbearing.
- Surgical damage to neighboring organs, including the intestines, bladder, and ureter.
Depending on the gestational age during delivery, your baby might require care in the neonatal intensive care nursery (ICN).
How is placenta accreta diagnosed and treated?
If you have shown risk factors for possible placenta accreta, your healthcare provider should be monitoring the development and implantation of your placenta.
The Mayo Clinic states that “through an ultrasound or Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), your health care provider can evaluate how deeply the placenta is implanted in your uterine wall.”
Placental conditions, like placenta accreta, can be treated through various approaches. If detected before childbirth, a c-section followed by a hysterectomy might be recommended to prevent severe bleeding. This involves delivering the baby surgically and removing the uterus. For those with such conditions, giving birth around 34 to 38 weeks of pregnancy could be advised to minimize bleeding risk. Preparations for emergency procedures, like blood transfusions, may also be made. Special treatments might be used before a c-section to control bleeding and preserve the uterus for future pregnancies. If the placenta doesn’t detach after birth, surgical removal, using methods like sutures or a balloon to stop bleeding, could be attempted. If these fail, a hysterectomy may be required.
Under what circumstances can I file a lawsuit for medical malpractice in Kentucky?
While sometimes, a medical malpractice lawsuit can be filed against a healthcare provider for failure to diagnose, most cases for medical malpractice are based on how the medical professional treated (or failed to treat) the condition once discovered.
Instances of medical malpractice regarding placenta accreta may include:
- Misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis. Healthcare providers may fail to recognize the signs and symptoms of placenta accreta, leading to a delay in diagnosis. This delay can result in missed opportunities for appropriate management and interventions.
- Failure to monitor. Regular prenatal care and monitoring are crucial for identifying placental conditions. If a healthcare provider neglects to conduct necessary tests or ultrasounds to detect placenta accreta, they may be held accountable for medical malpractice.
- Inadequate treatment. Placenta accreta requires careful planning and coordination for safe delivery. If a healthcare provider does not follow proper protocols for managing placenta accreta during childbirth, it could result in excessive bleeding, injury to organs, and other complications.
- Improper surgical technique. If a c-section or other surgical procedures are required to address placenta accreta, any errors in surgical technique, such as damaging surrounding structures, can lead to severe consequences.
The birthing process is meant to ultimately be a fulfilling one with a beautiful outcome. When the process goes awry due to someone’s negligence or recklessness, your life and the life of your baby can be put at risk. That is why if you ever experience placenta accreta, and you believe that your medical team made an error that led to harm for you or your baby, you need to find an experienced Kentucky medical malpractice attorney.
We have immense respect for the dedicated efforts of doctors, nurses, and midwives who utilize their extensive medical expertise to assist us in times of need. However, negligence is possible in any profession. At Wilt Injury Lawyers, we have a longstanding history of aiding parents and families affected by medical malpractice, securing substantial settlements on their behalf. You shouldn’t bear the burden of harm caused by neglect, and we’re here to advocate for your rights. Reach out to us for a free consultation – a step towards justice. Feel free to give us a call or complete our contact form. With offices in both Lexington and Louisville, we proudly extend our services to clients across Kentucky.