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From Natural to Life-Threatening: Postpartum Bleeding, Postpartum Hemorrhage, and Wrongful Death Cases

What is Postpartum Bleeding?

It is natural for a woman to experience bleeding during and after childbirth. Referred to as the postpartum period the process of discharging tissue, blood, and other matter is called lochia. Of course, heavy bleeding is normal and women find that they must wear thick pads for several days to avoid leakage. Usually, postpartum bleeding lasts from three to ten days, and is one of the most significant menstrual cycles a woman will ever experience if she has just had her first child. So, again, this process – lochia – is a natural process, whether or not a woman goes through natural childbirth or has a c-section, and occurs after childbirth and generally isn’t cause for concern. Furthermore, once the body has expunged blood, tissue, and mucus the dark red will gradually lighten and eventually disappears after six weeks. There is, however, something called excessive postpartum hemorrhage (PPH), and this is when a women is entering dangerous territory. She must be vigilant in watching for the symptoms of postpartum hemorrhage. Even more importantly, the doctors and nurses caring for her must ensure that she is not exhibiting any of these symptoms.

Excessive Postpartum Hemorrhage
What is excessive postpartum hemorrhage and how common is it? Excessive postpartum hemorrhage is a result of excessive bleeding (more than 500 cc after vaginal delivery or 1000 cc after a caesarean section), and most often occurs after a Caesarean procedure. Approximately four percent of women suffer from excessive postpartum hemorrhage.

There are two types of postpartum hemorrhage:

Primary postpartum hemorrhage: this form takes place within twenty-four hours after a woman gives birth.
Secondary (delayed) hemorrhage: this type occurs twenty-hours to six weeks after a woman gives birth.

There are numerous causes that can lead to excessive postpartum hemorrhage such as:

–Labor that has been prolonged or halted
–A history of postpartum hemorrhage
–The usage of forceps or forcing labor with other medical instruments
–First childbirth
–Stillbirth

Oftentimes excessive postpartum hemorrhage is ignored, misdiagnosed, or not treated by physicians or other medical professionals, and thus put the patient at extreme risk. It can even lead to death. Indeed, excessive postpartum hemorrhage is life-threatening. That is why the following symptoms should not be ignored.

So what are the symptoms? They are as follows:

–Excessive, heavy bleeding (the most obvious symptom)
–Rapid heart beat
–Dizziness
–Inflammation, sensitivity, and pain in the vaginal area
–Significant decrease in blood pressure

When things go terribly wrong . . . Wrongful Death Due to Postpartum Hemorrhage
Tragically, and as already noted several times, women do in fact die as a result of postpartum hemorrhage, something that can be avoided if medical professionals take necessary precautions to watch for symptoms and then properly treat them. While it is true that not all postpartum hemorrhage is a result of medical malpractice or incompetence, doctors and other medical personnel must act quickly to help a patient suffering from the condition. If they fail to treat a patient who has the symptoms of postpartum hemorrhage, she is at risk of shock, brain damage, and death.

When it comes to medical malpractice cases, Levin & Perconti are known for settling a $7.62 million wrongful death case of a woman who complained about her postpartum bleeding. Her pleas for help were ignored and she perished. This was an example of gross medical negligence, as the woman reached out for help, explained her complications, and yet was ignored. Sadly, medical professionals do not always listen to their patients, and that means lives, such as this woman’s, are lost. That’s a heavy price to pay, especially for the families who are left behind to pick up the pieces.

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