Make sure you know your rights if one of your children has a birth injury.
With the rise of assisted reproductive technology and an increase in the number of women having babies later in life, it's no surprise that twins, triplets, and even higher order multiple births are becoming more common. While pregnancies involving multiples are inherently high-risk, maternal-fetal medicine has advanced to the point where doctors can safely manage these pregnancies in the vast majority of cases, as long as they follow established standards of care.
Unfortunately, that's not always the case in practice. When physicians fail to effectively manage a pregnancy with twins or triplets, both the mother and the babies can be at risk of life-altering injuries. That's why accountability for those negligent doctors and other healthcare providers is so important. The Lancione Law Firm fights for accountability and financial compensation for those families.
What makes multiple births more dangerous?
There are several complications that are more likely in a multiple pregnancy, including:
- Preterm labor and premature birth: Over 60 percent of twins (and virtually all triplets and higher-order multiples) are born premature (before 37 weeks). Many are born very premature (before 28 weeks). When a baby is born before the organs have fully developed, the risk of infection and other life-threatening ailments increases.
- Gestational hypertension (high blood pressure) or eclampsia: The risk of gestational hypertension is about twice as high in a multiple pregnancy compared to a single-fetus pregnancy. Moreover, hypertension tends to develop earlier in pregnancy and be more severe.
- Anemia (low red blood cell count): Anemia is twice as common in a multiple pregnancy. Women with anemia are more likely to need blood transfusions after giving birth, especially if they also have significant hemorrhaging after birth — which is also more common with multiples.
- Amniotic fluid issues: Abnormalities involving amniotic fluid are more common in multiple pregnancies, especially identical twins that share a placenta. Identical twins can also result in twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome (TTTS), which is an imbalance of blood and amniotic fluid between the two twins — that is, one gets too much, and the other gets too little. This may require surgery to correct.
- Umbilical cord compression: Multiple fetuses mean multiple umbilical cords, and they can become entangled with each other. This increases the risk that one or both babies will have less oxygen flow to their brain (hypoxia), which can lead to permanent brain damage.
These and other risk factors can significantly increase the risk of severe birth injuries, including cerebral palsy and hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (HIE). Multiple births are very likely to require a caesarean section, with all the potential risks to the mother that come with that major surgery.
This is why multiple pregnancies require safe, effective medical care from start to finish.
The role of medical negligence in birth injuries to twins and triplets
Again, medical science has advanced to the point where multiple pregnancies can be safely managed, but only if physicians follow established standards of care. Some forms of medical negligence that can lead to a birth injury include:
- Failing to warn the mother of the risks of fertility treatments and procedures.
- Failing to accurately identify the presence of two or more fetuses.
- Failing to refer the mother to a maternal-fetal medicine (MFM) specialist to manage a multiple pregnancy.
- Failing to promptly diagnose pregnancy complications such as preeclampsia, hypertension, anemia, or gestational diabetes.
- Failing to properly treat twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome.
If you gave birth to twins or triplets and one or more of your children has a birth injury, or if you were injured due to pregnancy complications or errors during labor and delivery, you have legal recourse under Ohio law. However, the process to recover compensation is not easy. Birth injury matters involving multiples can be exceptionally complicated. You need the right attorney to conduct a thorough investigation and retain the right experts to build your child's case.
The Lancione Law Firm would be honored to listen to your story and explain your legal rights and options. There's no cost and no obligation to hire us, just honest answers from an experienced birth injury attorney. Schedule your free consultation today.