There are a number of things that could go wrong during childbirth, and one of them could be a retained placenta. This could cause a number of problems for the mother, such as severe blood loss and infection. It could even lead to life-altering complications. If you have suffered a retained placenta from medical negligence, this could be because the healthcare professionals looking after you may not have noticed or properly checked that the placenta has been delivered fully – and it could be referred to as a missed retained placenta. If this is the case, you could consider making a medical negligence claim.
Within the guide below, we explain what retained placenta after birth is, and we answer relevant questions such as
- Retained placenta – who is at fault?
- Can I make a claim for retailed placenta?
- Is a retained placenta medical negligence?
- What is the personal injury claims time limit for retained placenta clinical negligence?
- And more….
We will also take you through our service, giving advice on finding an expert to assess your case, as well as the no win no fee payment option (not available in Northern Ireland) that could be a good choice for you. If you’d like to discuss any part of this guide with us, or you wish to go about pursuing a compensation claim for retained placenta your first step is to complete an online enquiry.
Giving birth could be quite complicated, and there are a number of known potential complications that could cause harm to mother and/or baby. One such complication could be a retained placenta. This guide deals with retained placenta medical malpractice, which is where, through negligence, the placenta had not been delivered correctly, and the mother suffers unnecessarily. This could be for cases of completely missed retained placenta or partially retained placenta.
So, how do you tell if you have suffered a retained placenta that could have been avoided, and what could you do about it?
If you have suffered a retained placenta, this should have been treated extremely quickly, as the placenta should be delivered after birth and checked thoroughly to ensure that no part was missing. The placenta has a distinct appearance, and it should be noticed immediately that it is not complete. However, there could be cases in which it was thought that the placenta had been delivered when it hadn’t, for example, a miscommunication in the delivery room. Or, the placenta may not have been checked thoroughly enough to know whether there was any part of it missing. It is fair to say even a small part of the placenta that remains within the uterus after birth could have the potential to make someone extremely ill. If you have suffered retained placenta due to medical negligence because the correct checks have not been made, it may be possible for you to make a medical negligence claim.
A personal injury solicitor could help you make a claim for poor retained placenta management if the mistake led to you suffering severe bleeding and/or infection. You could claim NHS/HSE negligence if this happened in an public hospital or privately if you were treated in a private hospital.
Within the body of this guide, you could learn more about retained placenta, including retained placenta symptoms, whether you need a retained placenta operation, as well as when a retained placenta could be classed as medical negligence. To find out more about retained placenta medical negligence compensation claims, carry on reading our guide.
What Is The Main Function Of The Placenta?
The placenta is an organ. It attaches to the side of the womb when you are pregnant and keeps a baby’s supply of blood separate from your own, but it also provides a link between the two supplies so that it could carry nutrients and oxygen to your baby, and carry waste products away to your bloodstream so that your body can dispose of them. It provides hormones to help the baby develop and grow and protects your baby from some sources of infection. In addition to all this, it also passes some antibodies to the baby from its mother so that the baby has some immunity for a few months after birth.
What Are Retained Placentas?
When you have given birth, you will have contractions afterwards to push the placenta from your body. A midwife would offer you medicine that has been designed to make these contractions happen to help the placenta come out. This medication should make the womb contract so that your placenta can then come away from the wall of the womb. It could help to prevent heavy bleeding that could occur in some people.
Alternatively, you may refuse this medication and try naturally to deliver the placenta. This does have some risks of blood loss, which should be explained to you. Your midwife should check the placenta and the membranes after birth to make sure nothing is left behind.
If you have Caesarean, then the placenta would need to still be delivered, but surgically.
A retained placenta means that some or all of the placenta was somehow not completely removed from the womb, either naturally or surgically. This can cause blood loss and/or infection.
What Types Of Retained Placenta Are There?
The main types of retained placenta are:
- Placenta Adherens – This occurs when the mother’s womb does not contract sufficiently to allow the placenta to be delivered. The placenta may stay loosely attached to the womb.
- Trapped Placenta – This occurs if the placenta does detach from the wall of the womb but gets trapped behind the cervix.
- Placenta Accreta – This occurs if the placenta, or part of it, becomes embedded deeply inside the womb.
- Placenta Percreta – This occurs if the placenta grows through the womb wall.
Please note that not all placentas that remain within the womb will be the result of medical negligence. In order to qualify for medical negligence compensation, it must be proven that the medical team who was looking after you through negligence did not deliver the placenta correctly, and as a consequence, you suffered unnecessarily.
Why Do Retained Placentas Happen?
Retained placentas happen for a number of reasons – it could be natural, due to the uterus not contracting well enough or because the placenta has grown in a certain manner, or it could be because a mistake was made or through medical negligence. In either method of birth, the placenta should be checked by a medical professional such as a midwife or doctor to ensure that it has completely been removed from the body.
It is the responsibility of the medical staff that are taking care of you to ensure that the placenta is fully delivered. They would be aware of all of the risks that could be present should your placenta not be delivered completely, and if they do not follow the required procedures for delivering and checking the placenta, or they fail to act quickly enough once a retained placenta has been spotted, then you could look into whether it would be possible for you to launch a retained placenta medical negligence claim.
Groups With A Higher Retained Placenta Risk
While retained placenta cannot be predicted, there are certain groups that may be considered higher risk of having a retained placenta.
People with a higher risk of retained placenta could be:
- Those who have premature babies. The placenta is created to stay in the place it grows for 40 weeks, and if the baby is born earlier, the placenta may not be ready to come away. Also, those having a baby for the first time are also considered more at risk.
- Those who have been given syntocin (a drug to induce or speed up labour) for a long period of time could also be considered at risk.
- Mothers over 30 are also considered at risk.
- There is also a higher chance of retained placenta after stillbirth or retained placenta after miscarriage.
- There is also thought to be a bigger risk in patients who have had a previous caesarean section, or other surgery to the womb. This is because this could affect the way the placenta grows in future pregnancies.
Retained Placenta Symptoms
Of course, the most apparent way to tell whether you have a retained placenta would be that the placenta was inspected and found not to be complete. The other symptoms of a retained placenta could vary from patient to patient. Often, symptoms could present around a day after delivery. These could include:
- Discharge (Foul smelling and containing tissue)
- Pain that does not go away
- Bleeding (heavy) that does not stop
If your doctor or midwife has failed to spot the signs you have a retained placenta, medical negligence claims could arise.
How Is A Retained Placenta Diagnosed?
Diagnosis of a retained placenta often involves inspection of the placenta once it has left your body. If it is not diagnosed at this point, and suspicion arises later on, then an ultrasound of the uterus would be required, and if there are any parts of placenta remaining, then you would need to be treated urgently to avoid complications. A retained placenta blood clot or retained placenta bleeding could be dangerous, and this is why you could need to be treated straight away. If you were not treated quickly for a retained placenta and your condition became worse, then you may be eligible to make a claim for damages if you have suffered avoidably.
How Are Retained Placentas Treated?
There are various methods of treatment for retained placenta. Retained placenta treatment could involve removal by hand. However, this could mean more of a risk of contracting an infection. Other methods could involve medication to help the body rid itself of the placenta, by way of making the uterus contract or relax. Breastfeeding could be deemed a possible treatment as this helps your body to release certain hormones which could make your womb contract. Or, your doctor might ask you to try and empty your bladder to allow the placenta to be able to deliver. If these treatments do not work, then surgical intervention may be required, as an emergency. This should ensure the placenta is removed fully.
Prognosis And Potential Complications
Below, we take a look at some of the potential complications that could arise from a retained placenta as well as looking forward to see what could be done in the future to prevent further cases of retained placenta in future pregnancies.
It is very important that the placenta is delivered. This allows the uterus to stop further bleeding by contracting. Should the placenta not be delivered, then it could be that the vessels where the organ is attached to the womb could carry on bleeding. In addition, your womb would not be able to close properly, and blood loss could not be prevented. If the placenta isn’t out within half an hour of the birth, blood loss could increase significantly.
The potential complications of retained placenta could include:
- Infection within the uterus.
- Heavy bleeding that could be life-threatening.
- In some cases, Asherman’s syndrome (adhesions of the placenta) and/or infertility.
You may be asking ‘can a retained placenta cause death?’ While the answer is, potentially, yes, retained placenta isn’t a common occurrence in pregnancy, and it could if treated quickly and effectively, lead to a favourable outcome. However, there could be cases where the bleeding is not able to be controlled, and this could potentially lead to loss of life.
Can a retained placenta affect future pregnancies?
Other possible outcomes could be Asherman’s syndrome, and/or the requirement for a hysterectomy, which could lead to infertility. It could also lead to scar tissue developing, which could potentially lead to further problems with the placenta in future pregnancies.
Preventing Future Occurrences
While it is not possible to predict whether a retained placenta would occur, if you are in the at-risk groups or you have had a previous retained placenta, you may wish to speak to your doctor to see what advice they give on how to prevent a retained placenta in future pregnancies.
In terms of prevention, doctors could act to prevent a retained placenta by giving medicine such as Oxytocin to help make the uterus contract, or they could use CCT (controlled cord traction) once the placenta has become separated. This involves the clamping of the cord while applying pressure to the cord and pulling, which encourages your placenta to deliver. Or uterine massage could be used.
When claiming for a retained placenta, the above amounts could apply in some cases, but there are also other payouts in terms of special damages that you could potentially claim for. For example, you might have required care at home after this happened to you, and the costs of this could be claimed for by the person that provided that care. As well as this, you may have lost income if you were intending on returning straight to work after your delivery. If you have been prevented from working by PTSD or physical symptoms, this could lead to a claim for lost income as well as a payment for your injuries themselves. In addition, medical and travel costs could be covered.
Could I Claim Compensation?
If you believe you have cause for a retained placenta medical negligence claim, then it does not cost you a penny to call us and ask for an honest opinion on whether you have a case for medical malpractice. We will listen to all the details of your case and then work out whether we feel you could have a claim. If we feel you do, and you wish to begin a retained placenta claim, then we could provide you with a personal injury solicitor to fight your claim for you. The solicitor in questions would work on no win no fee, meaning that you would not be required to fund your claim upfront. If you’re interested in learning more or would like a free assessment fill out the form on our contact page and we’ll call you. There’s no better time to get in touch to find out if you could have a retained placenta medical negligence claim.
Can I make a claim against the NHS/HSE for a retained placenta?
For many of us living in the UK or Ireland, the NHS/HSE is a source of pride and a lifeline when medical emergencies arise. For this reason, making a decision to claim against the health service in the case of medical negligence can be hard.
But if you’ve suffered unduly because of the negligence of a medical professional, you’re entitled to make a claim. Not only can a medical negligence claim compensate you for any pain and suffering you’ve experienced, but it can also reimburse you for any out-of-pocket expenses resulting from your injuries, like loss of earnings.
What’s the average payout for retained placenta medical negligence compensation claims?
When it comes to making a medical negligence compensation claim, or a compensation claim of any kind, it’s hard to put a value to the “average” amount that you’ll receive. This is because each case is examined individually, and the amount of compensation you receive will depend on the effects that you’ve experienced as a result of a retained placenta.
If you’d like to know more about what you could receive in a retained placenta medical negligence compensation claim, then get in touch with our team today. We’ll be happy arrange to have your case to be assessed for you.