Amniotic Fluid Embolism Negligence Lawyers in NJ
Helping You Seek Compensation when Amniotic Fluid Embolism Malpractice Causes Injury or Death
No matter how much you plan, your pregnancy may be filled with many surprises, even if you have had another child or children previously. Each pregnancy is experienced differently, and no matter how joyful the expectation of expanding your family, anticipating a happy, healthy baby is fraught with anticipation about the unknown. Despite the uniqueness of each birth experience, the last thing that any pregnant mother expects is fighting for her life or her baby’s. Each year, approximately 1% of all U.S. women die of pregnancy-related complications and 5.6% of those deaths are due to amniotic fluid embolism. Although this condition is generally more dangerous to mothers, babies may die as a result of amniotic fluid embolism as well. Any situation involving amniotic fluid embolism can lead to death and other serious complications, but this is particularly true among victims of medical negligence.
If you or a loved one suffered harm or death as a result of substandard medical care with amniotic fluid embolism, our diligent New Jersey medical malpractice attorneys have the knowledge and resources to fight for you. With millions of dollars recovered on behalf of clients facing the fallout from birth injuries, negligent prenatal care, and wrongful death throughout the state, Fronzuto Law Group is prepared to investigate your unique case to uncover whether errors on the part of a doctor, hospital, or medical staff contributed to the outcome. If so, we will walk you and your family through the legal journey ahead in pursuit of maximum compensation. Contact us today at 973-435-4551 for a free consultation.
Understanding Amniotic Fluid Embolism
A rare and potentially lethal pregnancy complication, amniotic fluid embolism (AFE), also known as anaphylactoid syndrome of pregnancy, is a severe respiratory allergic reaction to amniotic fluid or other fetal debris such as hair or nails, circulating in a pregnant woman’s blood. This condition can cost mother and fetus their lives. The reaction is characterized by respiratory failure, followed by heart failure and hemorrhaging from the location where the placenta attaches or from a C-section surgical site. Women with this condition require immediate blood transfusion, as maternal blood does not clot in cases of amniotic fluid embolism. The condition may arise during labor, cesarean section, abortion, amniocentesis (a small amniotic fluid sampling), or the second trimester of pregnancy. It may also occur after a complicated vaginal delivery, abdominal injury, or any childbirth.
When amniotic fluid embolism occurs, the sudden onset of symptoms may arise as shortness of breath, coughing, low blood pressure, low blood oxygen, turning blue, fetal bradycardia (low heart rate), rapid breathing, confusion, chills, sweating, vomiting, nausea, anxiety, lung damage, increased heart rate, seizures, and excessive bleeding. An attending physician has little time to react and must do so immediately to prevent catastrophic injury or death.
Recognizing the profile of a possible AFE candidate is also critical to prepare for urgent treatment. Pregnant women with multiple births, advanced age, hard contractions, abdominal trauma, cesarean section, induced labor, placenta previa, and uterine or cervical tears are more prone to experiencing amniotic fluid embolism. For the child, fetal distress and being male are contributing risk factors. Additionally, knowing what provokes AFE is also essential for doctors. The condition may occur after uterine trauma when inserting a catheter, after the membranes break, or by accidentally cutting the placenta during a cesarean section. Sometimes the condition is induced by excessively forceful contractions left uncontrolled by medication.
What Doctors do for Amniotic Fluid Embolism
Regardless of how it is caused, AFE must be diagnosed early and treatment begun immediately by quick resuscitation of the mother and delivery of the baby. Diagnosis of the condition should be apparent based on low blood pressure or cardiac arrest, acute respiratory distress and severe bleeding during labor, delivery, or postpartum. Further diagnosis may be made by a lung scan and serum level testing.
Treatment includes blood and plasma transfusion, oxygen, and other resuscitative and heart care to keep the patient from falling into a coma or dying. Once resuscitated, a heart monitor is usually installed to track maternal heart rate while administering blood pressure medication. After resuscitation, it is critical to ensure that the mother’s vital signs are stabilized to prevent organ damage. The healthcare team must provide oxygen, fluids, as well as blood clotting drugs and blood. A ventilator or other oxygen therapy is typically necessary for mother and baby. The healthcare team must also remove fluid in the lungs or heart. Epinephrine may be used to counteract anaphylactic shock, as well as other drugs to improve circulation, heart functioning, lung dilation, inflammation suppression, blood clotting, and to support overall immune function. An immediate cesarean section improves the chances for the fetus and the mother if performed within minutes of cardiac arrest.
Complications from Amniotic Fluid Embolism
If the condition is diagnosed quickly and the patient resuscitated immediately, survival is increased, though severe neurological, kidney, heart and lung damage may be permanent. And if the baby does or does not survive, emotional suffering, postpartum distress, and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder may occur. For most women, amniotic fluid embolism proves fatal due to heart failure, bleeding, suffocation, or organ failure. Despite this, the survival rate for infants is higher when compared with mothers. Survival is not without its costs, however. Some infant survivors suffer neurological effects, brain damage, and cerebral palsy from lack of oxygen. Tragically, approximately half of amniotic fluid embolism cases end in maternal death in the first hour of symptoms appearing.
Since AFE has no known causes, your doctor cannot predict an amniotic fluid embolism unless you have had it before. If so, your doctor should refer you to a specialist to monitor and handle your high risk pregnancy and delivery. If your obstetrician did not refer you to a specialist, delayed in diagnosing amniotic fluid embolism, failed to promptly perform a cesarean section to save your baby’s life, or otherwise mishandled your delivery, you may have grounds for a medical malpractice action. Moreover, if your loved one suffered maternal death due to amniotic fluid embolism and you suspect errors occurred, your family may file a lawsuit against the healthcare provider and/or other liable parties.
Contact a New Jersey Amniotic Fluid Embolism Malpractice Attorney to Discuss Your Case
No doubt the pain of losing your baby, losing someone you love, or nearly losing your own life cannot be measured. Nonetheless, you may seek solace in holding negligent medical professionals and facilities accountable for substandard care. With a successful lawsuit, you can also recover compensation for the economic losses you suffered paying medical bills and losing time from work, in addition to the mental, emotional, and physical pain and trauma unduly caused to you.
Seek sound guidance from the medical malpractice lawyers at Fronzuto Law Group by calling 973-435-4551 now or requesting a free case review through our convenient form. If a provider’s actions fell below the standard of care of what is expected under similar circumstances, you may have a legal claim for the injuries caused by missed diagnosis or mismanagement of amniotic fluid embolism. We serve clients across the state of New Jersey and are available to answer your questions and discuss your options.
- Amniotic Fluid Embolism Foundation
- Amniotic fluid embolism, Journal of Anaesthesiology, Clinical Pharmacology
- CDC Pregnancy Mortality Surveillance System