Birth-injury lawyer Jeffrey Killino has experience with injuries caused by the rupture of a pregnant woman’s membranes and the negligent treatment of this condition by medical professionals. When a physician or obstetrician fails to timely diagnose premature rupture of membranes or to properly treat the condition once it develops, the physician may be liable for any injuries sustained by the mother or her child as a result. If you or your child has sustained an injury as a result of the premature rupture of membranes and someone’s negligence, contact birth-injury attorney Jeffrey Killino at 877-875-2927 for more information about your legal options.
What is Premature Rupture of Membranes?
Premature rupture of membranes (PROM) is the rupture of membranes more than one hour prior to the onset of labor. Patients with PROM experience symptoms including leakage of fluid, vaginal discharge, vaginal bleeding, and pelvic pressure, without having contractions.
What causes Premature Rupture of Membranes?
PROM occurs in approximately 10% of pregnancies and may be caused by uterine or genital-tract infections. Where multiple fetuses are involved, overstretching of the uterus or an excess of amniotic fluid may cause PROM. Other causes of PROM include cigarette smoking and poor nutrition. An increased possibility of PROM exists when it occurred in a previous pregnancy. In addition, previous surgeries, such as cone biopsies, may increase the likelihood of PROM.
What are the Symptoms of Premature Rupture of Membranes?
A key symptom of PROM is fluid leakage from the vagina, which may be slow or gushing in nature. Although fluid is lost when PROM occurs, the baby will continue to produce more, so it may continue to leak. At times, symptoms of PROM are similar to those of other medical conditions, so that consultation with a physician is imperative when these symptoms occur.
What to Expect if Premature Rupture of Membranes Takes Place
According to the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), the premature rupture of membranes is responsible for approximately one-third of early, or preterm, deliveries. Once it has been established that PROM has occurred, a pregnant woman will likely be admitted to a hospital for delivery of her baby. Medications to induce labor may be prescribed and are usually recommended if labor has not begun after a few hours have passed. Studies suggest that the inducement will decrease the likelihood of developing an infection in the uterus.
Legal Liability for PROM Injuries
An obstetrician may be found liable in a medical malpractice action for negligently causing a pregnant woman’s membranes to prematurely rupture (also known as causing the woman’s “water to break”).
Negligence of Physician in Causing Membranes to Rupture
The premature rupture of a pregnant woman’s membranes may occur as a result of a too-rough examination of the mother or too frequent examinations. If the doctor’s ordering of frequent examinations is determined to have been unnecessary and a violation of the standard of reasonable care required of obstetricians or other physicians under the same or similar circumstances, the physician may be found liable in an action for medical malpractice or negligence for the woman’s and child’s resulting injuries.
Even when examinations of a pregnant woman are not performed more frequently than is reasonable for the particular pregnancy, a single rough or probing examination may nevertheless result in the premature rupture of the woman’s membranes. If the examination is determined to have been conducted in a negligent manner, and if the negligently conducted examination is determined to have caused the patient’s membranes to prematurely rupture, the doctor may be held liable for the resulting injuries to mother and child in an action for medical malpractice.
Negligence of Physician in Diagnosing and Responding to Prematurely Ruptured Membranes
When the premature rupture of membranes results from something other than the negligence of a physician or other medical professional, a physician may nevertheless be found liable for injuries resulting from prematurely ruptured membranes if the doctor is determined to have failed to exercise reasonable care to diagnose and/or treat the patient’s ruptured membranes.
A wide variety of complications may develop from a failure to diagnose PROM or a delay in diagnosis of PROM, including placental infections, brain damage to the infant, respiratory difficulties or asphyxia (which can result in cerebral palsy as well as other serious injuries), and death. When a physician’s failure to diagnosis (or delay in diagnosis of) PROM results in any of these injuries, the physician may be held liable for the damages suffered by the mother or child in an action for negligence or medical malpractice.
In some cases, the negligence of certain individuals may combine with the negligence of others to cause someone’s injuries. If, for example, a physician negligently failed to diagnose a pregnant woman’s PROM and other medical personnel negligently treated the condition after its existence was discovered, the physician who negligently failed to diagnose the condition may be held liable for any injuries resulting from that failure to diagnose, including those sustained as a result of the negligence of the physician who treated the condition.
If either you or your baby suffered injury as a result of the premature rupture of membranes and you suspect the injuries were caused or made worse by the negligence of your physician or other medical personnel, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries by those responsible. Contact birth-injury lawyer Jeffrey Killino at 877-875-2927 today for expert assistance with your case.