Want to know whether medical malpractice in the handling of your vasa previa caused your baby to suffer cerebral palsy? We can help you find out.
Pittsburgh Birth Injury Attorneys
Birth Injury Lawyers in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Yet another condition that significantly increases the risk of vasa previa is called velamentous insertion of the cord. Normally, blood vessels run from the placenta to the baby via the umbilical cord. Velamentous insertion of the cord means that these blood vessels travel fully exposed across the amniotic membranes before they come together in the protective umbilical cord.
Marginal insertion of the cord also greatly increases the risk of vasa previa. Normally, the umbilical cord inserts near the center of the placenta. Marginal insertion of the cord exists when the umbilical cord inserts at the outer edge of the placenta.
Other risk factors for vasa previa include in-vitro fertilization; carrying twins, triplets, or other multiple pregnancies; and a history of uterine surgery, such as C-sections or D&Cs.
What are the signs and symptoms of vasa previa?
Vaginal bleeding, particularly at the time of spontaneous or artificial rupture of membranes, is the primary sign of vasa previa. However, there are often no signs or symptoms of vasa previa.
How is vasa previa diagnosed?
Antenatal diagnosis of vasa previa can be accomplished through any of the following means:
- By using an amnioscope. An amnioscope is a tube-shaped device that is used for direct visualization of the amniotic membranes;
- By vaginal exam;
- By blood tests to detect the presence of fetal blood in patients who present with vaginal bleeding;
- By ultrasound and transvaginal color Doppler studies.
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How is vasa previa treated?
Women who are diagnosed with vasa previa prenatally are often hospitalized during some or all of their third trimester (beginning at about 30-32 weeks of gestation) and then undergo scheduled C-section at 35 weeks of gestation. The objective of this treatment is to closely monitor the situation and then deliver the baby before any effacement and dilation of the cervix begins, as these processes greatly increase the risk of membrane rupture and consequent fetal hemorrhage from vasa previa.
If vasa previa is not diagnosed prenatally and is only diagnosed when vaginal bleeding accompanies membranes rupture, treatment involves emergency delivery of the baby coupled with immediate blood transfusion and aggressive resuscitation.
How does vasa previa lead to cerebral palsy and other serious injuries?
If not diagnosed and treated, vasa previa can lead to fetal hemorrhage (severe blood loss). If this blood loss is not immediately reversed, through emergency delivery, blood transfusion, and aggressive resuscitation, the baby can suffer serious brain damage from lack of oxygenated blood to the brain. This brain damage can result in cerebral palsy.
Medical malpractice and vasa previa
The medical literature demonstrates that infant mortality from vasa previa can be all but eliminated through timely prenatal detection of the condition, followed by C-section delivery before the rupture of membranes. For this reason, careful doctors screen their prenatal patients for vasa previa. This screening includes attempting to identify placental umbilical cord insertion during the routine second trimester obstetric ultrasound exam, and transvaginal color Doppler sonography of the region over the cervix in all women at increased risk of vasa previa (i.e., those with second trimester low-lying placentas, IVF pregnancies, those with accessory placental lobes, and those with abnormal umbilical cord insertion) in whom vasa previa cannot be excluded by transabdominal sonography.
Contact the Experienced Birth Injury Lawyers Pittsburgh, PA at Berger & Lagnese, LLC for a Free Consultation
If your baby was seriously injured, suffered cerebral palsy, or died due to undiagnosed vasa previa, medical malpractice may have been the cause. Medical Malpractice can even happen at highly regarded Pittsburgh medical facilities, such as UPMC Mercy or Jefferson Hospital. To find out, you should call a law firm such as Pittsburgh-based Berger & Lagnese, LLC with experience handling birth injury medical malpractice cases involving vasa previa and cerebral palsy. The lawyers at Berger & Lagnese will evaluate your vasa previa case for free and help you find out whether your baby's cerebral palsy resulted from medical malpractice. Our office is located at 310 Grant St #720, Pittsburgh, PA 15219 and consultations can be scheduled either online here or over the phone at (412) 471-4300.