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#1 of 43 Old 12-18-2007, 06:49 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I dont know if anyone here remembers my story, but I really value everyone on here's opinion and I really don't know anyone who has gone through something similiar to ask them.

The quick version: Back in January, after 3 hours of labor from start to finish (very quick) my youngest daughter was born at 1:15. Beautiful birth, all natural, in the water. At 1:30 I got out of the tub and moved to the bed to deliver the placenta. It came out pretty quick and my student midwife caught it in her hands. At 1:45 my doc came to my side to thank be for giving birth so quickly because she had to be in court by 2:30. So she hurried and left. Shortly after that, I became distressed, losing almost 40% of my blood volume. It took until midnight to get my first blood transfusion. They let me go home as normal after my 3 day stay. Upon getting home, I layed down and could not get back up, I was shaking, and couldn't feed my baby. My sister in law came to watch my newborn as my husband to me back to the hospital. My hematocrit was 7, so I received my second transfusion, which start with an anxiety attack that stopped it and they had to restart it. I went home the next day and tried to start enjoying my new baby, still feeling very weak and anxious. Everynight, my anxiety got worse and worse, i stayed up until all hours at night, thinking the other shoe was going to fall and I was going to start bleeding out again.

When she was a month old, it happened. Early sunday morning, i started losing blood like I had when she was born. I called my midwife and got whoever was on call. She said to call back if it happened again. That afternoon, it happened again, I called my doctor who told me it was just my postpartum period, to relax and it should subside. That night around midnight, it happened again, worse of all. I woke my husband feeling very woosey and told him we were just going to the ER. We got there at 11PM. 1AM I am still in the waiting room, bleeding through a blanket, hystrical that they were doing nothing to prevent me from dying, so they moved me to the standby waiting room to be by myself. At 2AM I got to a room, the doc did a quick exam, told me it appears to be my postpartum period and to go home and come back when I feel dizzy and am bleeding heavier. I asked, do you mean when I go into hypovolemic shock (I was a paramedic)? And he told me, yes. I went home crying, talking to my husband about what I want if I died from this.

First thing in the morning, I called my midwife and told her something had to be done. She ordered me an ultrasound for Friday. Friday I had my ultrasound and the tech said there was a blood clot, I would pass it over the weekend and be done with this. I spent all evening waiting, I couldnt relax, I couldnt sleep. I paged my doctor on saturday and told him I could not wait another day, something had to be done. He had be come to the hospital and performed another ultrasound and found a part of Madeline's placenta stuck in my uterus. I got a D&C and was out of the hospital within 4 hours. (WEEKS of pain and anxiety that was avoidable by listening to me that something was wrong and checking me out more thoroughly and doing a simple surgery!)

For weeks, I was anxious, feeling like there was something more that was going to happen. I felt chest pain every night. I was in the emergency room feeling like I was having a heart attack or a pulmonary embolism (That is a whole other story). The doctor prescribed me Zoloft for my anxiety and I began therapy. My therapist was not helpful at all, tried focusing on my childhood, not my trauma. I was on the zoloft for 8 months, before I felt safe to come off it and stopped having chest pains.

Now, all of this in consideration. (Which is more than I thought it would be.) Would you sue your doctor in this case? I don't know what to do. My statue of limitations is almost up. I'm scared I will go to have my yearly physical with my midwife and she will deny me as a patient. And therefore, I lost months of my baby's life being sick and I have lost a doctor I like. My midwife's student, emailed me for a few weeks after she was born, but my last few emails have gone unanswered and I feel like that is them cutting me off.

If you have made it through all of this, I really thank you. If you could tell me what you would do in this case, I would greatly appreciate it.
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#2 of 43 Old 12-18-2007, 06:56 PM
 
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wow,lots of hugs mama

to answer your question.

No. i would not sue.
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#3 of 43 Old 12-18-2007, 06:56 PM
 
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It seems like you could sue for medical malpractice as you did not receive the standard of care. Have you ordered all your medical records? You will need those as proof. Maybe contact a medical malpractice lawyer and see what they say. Some do free consultations.
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#4 of 43 Old 12-18-2007, 06:58 PM
 
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I'm sorry I don't know. But I think that you deserve some acknowledgement and some help for your trauma.

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#5 of 43 Old 12-18-2007, 07:01 PM
 
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Well, you could sue, but you might not get any satisfaction out of it. I am on another list for c-section support and recovery and there have been many discussions on there regarding suing for birth trauma. There is also a personal injury lawyer on the list. Basically we were told that unless you have some major personal damages (say if you had lost your uterus, or died - emotional trauma isn't enough). It is hard to get any sort of jury on your side. That being said, if you feel you need to go for it, go for it.
Another option would also be to report this doctor to your state's department of health so they can investigate.
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#6 of 43 Old 12-18-2007, 07:03 PM
 
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I agree with the medical malpractice thought, it sounds like that is exactly that happened to you. You said that it was a piece of the placenta that remained in you uterus-did the doctor thoroughly examine the placenta to see if it was completely intact? Also, they should have done the ultrasound much earlier and taken your complaints more seriously. I would pursue it, because your persistence could keep this from happening yet again to someone else. I am sorry for your suffering.

Bethany, crunchy Christian mom to Destiny (11) Deanna (9), and Ethan (2)

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#7 of 43 Old 12-18-2007, 07:04 PM
 
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I don't know how the law would work, but I had a very traumatic birth and you better believe that I would sue the Dr if I could. I hope you find healing.

Nursing bras should not double as birth control!
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#8 of 43 Old 12-18-2007, 07:05 PM
 
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Originally Posted by jennica View Post
It seems like you could sue for medical malpractice as you did not receive the standard of care. Have you ordered all your medical records? You will need those as proof. Maybe contact a medical malpractice lawyer and see what they say. Some do free consultations.
:

I'm sorry you had to go through all of that, and it does not seem like you received the standard of care which is the basis for a medical malpractice lawsuit. I too would advise contacting an attorney with your medical records and seeing what they have to say; most will consult for free and tell you whether they think you have a case or not. My dad sued after almost dying from appendicitis that went undiagnosed after three trips to the ER and three days of waiting (his appendix did rupture and he spent weeks in the hospital but he did eventually recover)... anyway, the lawyers he saw didn't accept payment from him, only if they won the case so they wouldn't take it if they didn't think it was a good case.

If it will make you feel better and help you get some closure, and/or if you think it will prevent similar mistakes/treatment from happening to future mamas then by all means consult an attorney and see what they have to say.
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#9 of 43 Old 12-18-2007, 07:07 PM
 
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Originally Posted by jennica View Post
It seems like you could sue for medical malpractice as you did not receive the standard of care. Have you ordered all your medical records? You will need those as proof. Maybe contact a medical malpractice lawyer and see what they say. Some do free consultations.
:

to you. Just reading your story made me feel panicky. I hope you're able to find some closure. I would also try to find another therapist if the one you have is not helping.
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#10 of 43 Old 12-18-2007, 07:09 PM
 
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(((((((((((hugs)))))))))))) No I would not sue.
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#11 of 43 Old 12-18-2007, 07:13 PM
 
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What a horrible situation you were in. That sounds truly frightening. I'm sorry you had to go through that.

Personally, I would not sue. I would definitely write letters to everyone I could think of but I would only sue if there was going to be monetary cost to me due to permanent damage. Suing for money because of distress doesn't make sense to me. The money won't change what happened. I hope I don't sound callous when I say that because I don't want to minimize what you experienced. It's just my personal take on suing for medical reasons in general.

It turns out that moderation is the key to good parenting.  Too bad we aren't allowed to talk about that here.

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#12 of 43 Old 12-18-2007, 07:25 PM - Thread Starter
 
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What everyone has had has been what I felt. I have a happy healthy baby. I was traumatized, but I have healed. I have even told my husband that I am willing to have more children (NOT right now, but in the future). I have not lost my ability to have children. And I really do like my midwife and feel she did the best she could and nobody could have known what was going to happen. I didn't care much for my doctor or the hospital, but I can't sue them without suing my midwife, who was the one who rushed off when I was in distress. I would like to continue being her patient.

I just have a co worker I told my story to who, everyday, asks me if I have contacted a lawyer yet. And she keeps getting into my head. Making me feel like I am making a mistake by not sueing. But how I see it, why should I mess up someone else's life. Mine was only messed up for a short period of time. I lived to be with my children. And that is more than enough for me.

Thank you for helping me justify that I have made the right decision for me.
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#13 of 43 Old 12-18-2007, 07:29 PM
 
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I'm so sorry. I really can't say what I would do. I don't know. I can definetly make an arguement for suing and also for not doing so.

You have my support on this journey whichever you choose.

Again, I'm so sorry your midwife failed you. I am glad that you and your baby are okay now.
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#14 of 43 Old 12-18-2007, 07:40 PM
 
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I didn't care much for my doctor or the hospital, but I can't sue them without suing my midwife, who was the one who rushed off when I was in distress. I would like to continue being her patient.
I'm confused, I thought you said your doctor rushed off when you were distressed?
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#15 of 43 Old 12-18-2007, 07:43 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm sorry. My midwife delivered Madeline at 1:15 and she had a court appearance at 2:30 she had to be at, so she rushed off when I was going into shock from blood loss. I feel my doctor, her attending physician, dismissed me by telling me i was bleeding from my post partum period.
Sorry for the confusion. But i really do like my midwife as a person, she is a wonderful caring person.
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#16 of 43 Old 12-18-2007, 07:48 PM
 
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I'm sorry. My midwife delivered Madeline at 1:15 and she had a court appearance at 2:30 she had to be at, so she rushed off when I was going into shock from blood loss. I feel my doctor, her attending physician, dismissed me by telling me i was bleeding from my post partum period.
Sorry for the confusion. But i really do like my midwife as a person, she is a wonderful caring person.
Sometimes wonderful, caring people screw up. If you're going to sue for medical malpractice, you'll need to be able to prove that she (and others) did so in a way that could have been avoided.

I don't know much about this, really, other than having sat on a jury this fall deciding a medical malpractice suit. In the end, we decided that while what the family went through was horrible and sad, the doctor didn't do anything out of the ordinary or that conflicted with standard practice.

I wish I knew what to tell you.
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#17 of 43 Old 12-18-2007, 08:04 PM
 
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If the doc had a court case, and could not give full attention during your birth, she should have recommended another doctor to attend you that day. What if your labor had taken longer, what if you had bled to death? What if, in her hurry, did not verify the placenta completely, which would have clued her that you were possibly retaining a piece or had a clot somewhere? Postlabor care is just as important as care during birth, and she absolutely should not have rushed off like that. This is why an OB (I presume she's an OB) has other OBs on call for situations like this. The level of care you received was unacceptable and downright neglectful and dangerous, not to mention disrespectful, If you can't give a patient your full attention, get someone who can.

I would at least notify the state board about this. What happened to you was wrong, and totally preventable. You can at least talk to an attorney and review your options, without commitment. But do something. You were wronged.

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#18 of 43 Old 12-18-2007, 08:10 PM
 
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For what it's worth, I support your decision not to sue. I would however, write a letter and lodge some sort of complaint about the doctor who wrote off your legitimate concerns.

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14yo ds   11yo dd  9yo ds and 7yo ds and 2yo ds  
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#19 of 43 Old 12-18-2007, 08:57 PM
 
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I would at least order all of my medical records and do some research on what the normal response to your complaints should be, what alternatives you think the doctor might have taken, etc.

to you

Mom to dd (8), ds (6), and dd (1)

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#20 of 43 Old 12-18-2007, 09:28 PM
 
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Copykitten> I will be honest, I didn't read your whole post because what I skimmed was so similar to my story and I have PTSD.

One of my biggest regrets is that I didn't pursue some sort of action re. my mistreatment. I don't mean suing for $ exactly, but it bugs me daily that I almost died, I suffered for 9 weeks with a retained placenta in my case, and they probably don't even remember me. But, at the time I just wanted to forget it completely and pretend it never happened. I thought I was fine, I thought I was moving on but I wasn't.

Now, 4 years later I am finally addressing the trauma and it's turning my life upside down. I have major depression and a panic disorder that gets worse around AF because of the reminders. I wish I had gotten help/counseling and taken an active stance in advocating for myself at the time.

I would recommend at the very least writing letters to the medical board. Also, what really would be the harm in contacting a lawyer? Just to further explore the possibility. No amount of money would have helped me, but an acknowledgment and even an apology from the doctors that ignored me for weeks would have been very healing.

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#21 of 43 Old 12-18-2007, 10:49 PM
 
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I think that doctors get paid waaaay too much to listen so little to what you are complaining about.

I have seen doctors, they asked me questions, I answered, and they kept on talking their little speil as if I had not even answered their questions. In other words, the same thing that happened to you, the doc did not take YOUR complaints seriously, s/he just brushed-off and ignored everything you said.

Also I cannot fathom why you would ever want to use that midwife again! She should've had someone else there for you, since she wasn't able to stay!
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#22 of 43 Old 12-18-2007, 11:19 PM
 
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Copykitten>

I would recommend at the very least writing letters to the medical board. Also, what really would be the harm in contacting a lawyer? Just to further explore the possibility. No amount of money would have helped me, but an acknowledgment and even an apology from the doctors that ignored me for weeks would have been very healing.

I think this is good advice. You are the only person who can answer the question of whether or not to sue. However you have been through some significant trauma and either way it may be valuable to seek out a therapist who would do a more professional job of addressing it and helping you work through it.

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#23 of 43 Old 12-18-2007, 11:30 PM
 
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i confess to not having read the other responses. i think you should write to the hospital these docs work, along with the medical board. i would also speak to a lawyer, if they don't think you have a case, so be it, but it sounds like you could use some closure.


ps- i am so glad you and your daughter are safe and healthy now!
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#24 of 43 Old 12-18-2007, 11:36 PM
 
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I'm sorry that no one took you seriously while all of this was happening. You were trusting your instincts; they should have listened to you!

I think you should consult with a lawyer. That doesn't mean you have to go in with guns blazing; it's simply that: a consultation, and it won't commit you to anything. Tell the lawyer what you've told us here. Ask the lawyer what, if anything, can be done in circumstances like that to either recompense you for your suffering, or at least to help ensure that it doesn't happen to others. If, after the consultation, you decide you don't want to pursue it, at least you'll walk out of there more knowledgable.

I liked my midwives too, but there was some really dumb stuff done when my son was born, culminating in them yanking out my placenta so that I bled profusely (to the point where my now-ex says they were talking about transfusions but I never received one)...for days after the birth I could not stand above my heart-level without blacking out. Loss of blood, I guess? I've never gotten an answer. No one would take me seriously; just told me to "get rest". My body eventually ironed itself out but it was truly about 3 months before I could even walk all the way down the street (or any real distance) by myself, upright. I always wondered if I should have pursued it, but felt I had no paper trail to rely on. YOU, however, do. You have proof that time and again you alerted them to a medical problem that they dismissed.

I hope you find peace, whatever you decide!
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#25 of 43 Old 12-18-2007, 11:43 PM
 
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I have known of homebirth doctors being sued for leaving a piece of the placenta in a new mother, causing the new mother to bleed profusely for a week but never a hospital delivery and never for a month after. That is malpractice and not to the standard of care. You were in the hospital where all of the guns and whistles are to prevent something like this from happening, and guess what, it happened! They sent you home repeatedly and you were nearly bleeding to death!

I would look into some kind of action against the hospital or doctor, since you should not have suffered that much.

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#26 of 43 Old 12-19-2007, 12:49 AM
 
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IMO a lawsuit is unlikely to give you the feeling of being listened to and cared for. I've never heard of a malpractice suit that was easy on any of the parties involved.

I think the suggestions about writing letters to your doctor and the medical board, and also the hospital, are good ones.

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#27 of 43 Old 12-19-2007, 01:13 AM
 
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I think you made the right decision not to sue. But I am very sorry for what you went through. I can only imagine how painful and traumatic that was for you.
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#28 of 43 Old 12-19-2007, 01:28 AM
 
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In cases like this where there are no long-lasting, documented, easy-to-see-and-prove PHYSICAL damages, I don't know that an actual lawsuit would even make it very far.

It sounds as if the standard of care was NOT met SEVERAL times over the course of your recovery.

First, it should not take HOURS to get a blood transfusion when you've lost 40% of your blood volume. (Only exception I can think of would be if they simply did not have the blood available and had to secure it from an outside source.)

Second, you don't mention them checking your hematocrit when you went to the ER. Did they do this, or did they rely solely on a vaginal exam to tell you that things were fine?

Third, leaving part of the placenta inside your uterus is obviously not within the accepted standard of care. It happens sometimes, and it can be dealt with, but someone has to actually LOOK for the problem. Preferably in a timely fashion BEFORE a month or more passes. Talk about asking for septic shock...

Stories like yours remind me of last summer when my Dad was about half way through chemo for colon cancer. He started having severe chest pain and could not catch his breath. He managed to dial 911, but could not speak to them. The ambulance arrived, paramedics loaded him up, and rushed him to the nearest ER.

Unfortunately, he lives in a teeny town and the nearest ER is not much to speak of. The ER doc insisted my dad was having a panic attack, did absolutely NO testing whatsoever (no blood work, no x-ray, no heart monitoring, NOTHING) because by the time my Dad actually arrived at the hospital, he was feeling much better.

They sent him home with Xanex.

Well, thankfully my Dad's wife is a nurse. None of this sounded quite right to her (she was out of cell phone range during the whole thing, and didn't find out about any of it til several hours later once he was home). She called my Dad's oncologist to explain everything that had happened.

The oncologist told her to bring him IMMEDIATELY to the ER in the closest decent sized town (this is where he was doing chemo). He didn't want to alarm her, but chances were great that what was going on was actually a pulmonary embolism.

They got to the ER where they were greeted as if my Dad was on death's door (keep in mind he was feeling fine at this point). Within 30 minutes, they found out that he had SEVEN blood clots in his lungs, and the severe pain he'd been in earlier was likely the result of one or more of them shifting/moving.

Pulmonary embolism is DEADLY. He was incredibly lucky to be alive. He was immediately started on blood thinners, stayed in ICU for 24 hours, then in the hospital for monitoring for another 3 days. Went home on injectable blood thinners for a while.

The ER doc at the teeny hospital never even mentioned the possibility of pulmonary embolism, despite the fact that being on chemo raises the risk of PE significantly, he presented with every classic symptom of PE in the book, etc. My father could have died from this doc's missed diagnosis.

HAD he died, you can bet your butt I'd have sued.

But he didn't. And so we wrote letters instead. Sent one to the doctor, and one to every person we could think of that might care or want to know about the situation (hospital adminstration, risk management, medical licensing board for the state, etc). If nothing else, I hope that doctor never misses the signs of PE in a chemo patient EVER again. The next person might not be so fortunate.
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#29 of 43 Old 12-19-2007, 04:59 AM
 
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Suing for money because of distress doesn't make sense to me. The money won't change what happened.
Money doesn't change what happened if the injury is physical either, or if someone actually dies due to the negligence. Emotional distress can be very expensive as well, because many insurance plans don't have good mental health coverage, and trauma can take a very long time to heal and can pop up years after the event. Some people who suffer birth trauma do end up with a life long injury that needs to be managed with medication and periodic therapy. How is this so different than a physical injury?
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#30 of 43 Old 12-19-2007, 05:38 AM
 
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OK- replying to OP only.

I would not sue at this point. I would, however, make a formal complaint with the organisation that registers midwives in your country. The student should not have been left alone to care for you and it was the midwives responsibility to check that the placenta was fully intact. Nobody else's. I would also make a complaint to the hospital about the doctor who told you it was the first PP period without carrying out further investigation.
Your midwife could not know what was to happen, but she should have ruled out certain possibilities. It's as simple as that. There is the fact that the hospital you birthed at is obviously understaffed postnatally which is why it took so long for them to intervene with the blood loss and you probably have grounds for a complaint against them too, but the simple fact is that leaving a mothers side 15 minutes after birthing the placenta is a bit premature.

I have to say, in your shoes I wouldn't consider birthing with her again.

Helen mum to five and mistress of mess and mayhem, making merry and mischief til the sun goes down.
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