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Family Sues After Postpartum Negligence Claimed Mother's Life

A doctor's work is not finished when a new baby arrives. As a tragic new lawsuit demonstrates, safe care requires doctors and hospitals to carefully monitor mothers after a birth. If the mother complains of dangerous symptoms, doctors have a responsibility to try to diagnose and treat the problem.

One common postpartum danger is known as "retained placenta." When portions of the placenta remain inside the uterus after an otherwise-successful delivery, mothers face a serious risk of deadly infections.

In this most recent case, a young father claims that medical malpractice led to his wife's death shortly after the birth of their first daughter. The mother died from a placental infection 12 days after the delivery. To make matters worse, she was readmitted two days after her initial discharge, complaining of serious symptoms of an infection. The hospital and its doctors have every opportunity to diagnose and respond to her condition.

Instead, the doctors did some basic tests but, according to the lawsuit, never conducted a sonogram. A sonogram would have allowed them to spot the fatal problem. The hospital discharged her again - she died several days later.

Sadly, postpartum negligence is all too common in American hospitals. It is just as important for doctors to provide excellent care and supervision after the delivery. Negligence puts the lives of both mother and child in jeopardy.

Source: New York Post, "Bronx woman died after childbirth due to botched placenta removal: lawsuit," Susan Edelman, Feb. 10, 2013

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