New Jersey Vasa Previa Attorneys
Of all the birth complications that can occur during delivery, vasa previa is a consequential condition with the potential to cause severe birth injuries and death of a baby. The condition can lead to extreme harm to a newborn, namely brain damage and stillbirth, among other severe complications and permanent conditions. As such, it is essential that doctors and healthcare providers proactively monitor mothers throughout pregnancy, diagnose vasa previa in a timely manner, and prepare a comprehensive plan of action to manage labor and delivery once vasa previa has been diagnosed. Failure to properly assess risk factors, diagnose, or manage vasa previa may constitute medical malpractice, entitling parents and the children harmed to substantial compensation.
If your child was forced to cope with the devastating consequences of negligently diagnosed or managed vasa previa, our New Jersey vasa previa lawyers are poised to investigate your case, inform you of your rights to take legal action, and zealously pursue compensation from those responsible for causing your child’s harm. Whether you have suffered the loss of your child, or your child now suffers from a permanent condition such as brain damage, cerebral palsy, or hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy, our team of medical and birth malpractice attorneys have been representing clients in similar situations for decades in New Jersey. We also consult on these cases on a national scale. When you feel lost and unsure where to turn for legal help in securing justice and compensation, find some clarity and contact us at 866-708-8617 today.
What Happens with Vasa Previa in Labor and Delivery?
When a pregnant patient with vasa previa goes into labor, she risks rupturing exposed blood vessels in the umbilical cord that nourishes and oxygenates the fetus. Blood vessels that should insert into the amniotic sac lie outside of the amniotic sac. Their location determines the type and severity of the condition. For example, when the exposed blood vessels cross or extend over the cervix, that is Type I or vasa previa with velamentous cord insertion. The other version, Type II or vasa previa with a bilobed placenta, occurs when the umbilical cord connects a divided placenta.
In addition, placenta previa raises the risk of rupture. When a woman’s placenta attaches near the cervix rather than near the top of the uterus, the risk of rupturing the blood vessels that connect the amniotic sac to the uterus increases, mainly when the placenta partially or wholly covers the cervix. And if the exposed blood vessels outside of the amniotic sac fall below the low-lying placenta, they are likely to burst at birth.
Thus, when the membranes rupture, the exposed blood vessels lying outside of the placenta or umbilical cord risk breaking open during delivery. When the blood vessels break, the fetus loses oxygen, potentially leading to severe complications.
Most Common Complications from Undiagnosed Vasa Previa
When a misdiagnosis or missed diagnosis of vasa previa occurs, the newborn may suffer an incapacitating disability that lasts a lifetime. The most prevalent complications that result from vasa previa include:
- Hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE),
- Cerebral palsy
- Brain damage
- Cognitive disabilities
- Developmental delays
Asphyxia or oxygen deprivation occurs when the blood vessels rupture. The umbilical cord, with its three major blood vessels, delivers oxygenated blood from the mother to the fetus through the placenta, uterus, and umbilical cord. When a rupture occurs, that blood flow and oxygen stop, and the fetus can asphyxiate. Specifically, when the exposed blood vessels lie between the fetus and the birth canal opening, they risk rupture when the fetus travels down through the birth canal.
Asphyxiation leading to brain damage can cause a child to endure developmental and cognitive delays, so they may need special education and adaptation to their daily environment. They may be wheelchair-bound, suffer seizures, and need physical, speech, and occupational therapies to improve their condition.
What are the Chances that a Baby will Survive Vasa Previa?
Though vasa previa is extremely dangerous to the baby, the survival rate is high, over 95%, when a medical professional discovers the condition during pregnancy. The survival rate severely decreases by half when a diagnosis comes too late. Although the disease is rare, the proper medical protocol requires a physician to accurately diagnose pregnancy conditions that threaten a newborn’s life. A baby can suffocate during labor and delivery if not detected and treated immediately. Thus, obstetricians must evaluate expectant pregnant women who experience vaginal bleeding or membrane rupture for this condition before the onset of labor so that they can schedule c-sections and adequately prepare to manage the condition.
Potential Signs and Risk Factors for Vasa Previa
While vaginal bleeding is one indicator of vasa previa, other factors may cause a physician to suspect the condition, even in the absence of symptoms. For example, a woman’s history of Cesarean section birth, uterus surgery, and in vitro fertilization are indicators that vasa previa may occur. In addition, multiple births (twins or triplets) and placenta previa may increase the likelihood of vasa previa. A regular prenatal ultrasound may pick up an abnormality, which should prompt an internal ultrasound. A more detailed look inside with a transvaginal ultrasound can detect anomalies, like placenta previa or vasa previa. So, as early as 16 weeks, a physician can diagnose and treat either or both.
Proactive Steps to Prevent Vasa Previa Complications
Treatment typically consists of closely monitoring a mother and fetus as the pregnancy progresses toward full gestation. Between 35 and 37 weeks, a physician may perform a Cesarean section. If necessary, a pregnant woman may be bedridden or hospitalized to lengthen the pregnancy term and prevent premature delivery. The likelihood of delivering an unharmed baby increases significantly when a physician diagnoses a dangerous condition like vasa previa on time. When a woman is in labor, the diagnosis may come too late. When her membranes break, vaginal bleeding occurs, and an abnormal fetal heart rate appears on the fetal monitor, a physician must be ready to do an emergency Cesarean section delivery. Otherwise, the mother and child may be endangered by excessive bleeding and stillbirth.
Filing a Claim for Compensation due to Negligent Vasa Previa Diagnosis or Treatment
When a physician fails to diagnose vasa previa during the pregnancy, they may be found negligent and, thus, responsible for the harmful consequences. A negligent doctor who caused harm to a child by mismanaging a vasa previa diagnosis or treatment may be legally required to pay damages to the child and parents. If you suffered the loss of your child or your child’s health due to a negligent medical professional, seek the help of a seasoned medical malpractice attorney. Medical malpractice claims require strict adherence to deadlines and practices. You must prove the physician’s negligence and resulting damages to obtain compensation, as well as finding the appropriate medical expert to review your case and support its validity when pursuing a medical malpractice lawsuit.
Most non-lawyers find it difficult to prosecute a medical malpractice claim without the help of an attorney, especially those surrounding the complex process of pregnancy and birth. Besides the time limitations within which to file certain documents and the legal knowledge required to set out and prove a claim, you also need experience in dealing with those who pay for your damages. Those defending the medical doctor or other healthcare providers wish to keep the claim payment low, while you may be entitled to additional compensation for all of the economic and non-economic losses to you and your child caused by undiagnosed or untreated vasa previa. For this reason, it is paramount to enlist help from an experienced attorney who knows how to negotiate and take a case to trial if negotiations cannot produce the best outcome.
Need a Lawyer for a Vasa Previa Case in NJ
Seek additional assistance in understanding the options that may be available to you by contacting our experienced attorneys to discuss your vasa previa malpractice case. Since medical malpractice takes extensive background and understanding of medical terminology, procedures, and practices, it takes overwhelming research and comprehension for the layperson to navigate the medical negligence-related legal system. Learn more about the compensation you may receive for your child’s injuries due to your doctor’s negligent handling of vasa previa when you speak with a medical malpractice and birth injury lawyer in New Jersey by calling 866-708-8617 or contacting us online today.