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A uterus rupture, also known as a uterine rupture, is a serious birth complication which can have fatal results for both the mother and the baby. When the wall of the uterus is breached, the contents of the uterus, including the baby, could spread into the peritoneal cavity. This usually is a risk during labor, but there have been cases of this complication in the last stages of the pregnancy. This rupture can either be an incomplete or complete tear of the uterus and the severity of the rupture will match the severity of the consequences. Why does this complication occur? In at least half of the cases, the mother had a cesarean section in the past.
A cesarean section, commonly called a C-section, is a medical procedure used by doctors when it is determined that a vaginal birth carries too many risks. By making an incision through the abdomen and uterus, the baby is removed. Although most mothers are able to deliver the baby through vaginal birth, there are certain circumstances in which a doctor could request a C-section. For example, if during labor the baby starts to show signs of distress or there is a problem with the umbilical cord or placenta, a C-section could avoid possible harm to the child. In other cases, the C-section may be planned before the due date. If the baby is not in the right position for a safe delivery or if the mother suffers from certain medical conditions or is carrying twins, this could be the safest option.
How can a previous C-section increase the risk of a uterus rupture in the future? If a mother is giving birth vaginally, there is the possibility of the scar from the previous C-section splitting open. If the mother has undergone different forms of uterine surgery, this could also increase the risk of a rupture. Other factors which could increase the risk of a rupture are if the mother has given birth a high number of times or was experiencing a dysfunctional labor. There have been reported cases of uterine rupture occurring without any apparent causes, but it is very rare.
Diagnosing & Treating a Uterine Rupture
Medical staff should be aware when a mother is more at risk of undergoing this complication and so should be vigilant in looking for the signs of a rupture. First, the mother may feel a sudden burst of pain that is different from the contractions. It may seem like something has ripped or given way. She may also experience a form of chest pain as blood is irritating the diaphragm area. Due to the blood loss, the woman may also go into hypovolemic shock. The symptoms of shock include a fall in blood pressure, clammy and pale skin, and anxiety. Distress on the part of the fetus may also be apparent, such as problems with their heart.
When a uterine rupture occurs, a C-section needs to be performed immediately or the life of both mother and baby may be put at risk. In some cases, the woman may have to undergo a hysterectomy and have her uterus surgically removed. Most hospitals now require that an obstetrician and an anesthesiologist are present when there is a risk that the mother may suffer from a uterine rupture. If you were the victim of a uterus rupture and you believe that the medical staff did not respond properly to the incident, you could have a medical malpractice case.
By contacting a New York medical malpractice lawyer from our team at the Law Offices of Joseph M. Lichtenstein, PC, we could examine all of the evidence in your case and seek to get you the maximum amount of compensation. Call today!