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Obstetric Cholestasis is a potentially very serious condition, which affects pregnant women and their unborn baby. If you wish to claim medical negligence compensation for failure to diagnose this condition, 1st Claims can help you.
What Causes Obstetric Cholestasis?
Obstetric cholestasis is a liver condition that can develop during pregnancy. It is not a particularly common complication; it only affects around one in 7000 women in the UK. Nevertheless, it is a disorder that needs to be properly managed and monitored if a woman and her baby are to remain healthy.
It is caused by the liver dysfunctioning during pregnancy. Someone suffering from Obstetric Cholestasis will often suffer symptoms of very itchy hands, feet and abdomen. Any pregnant woman who seeks medical advice complaining of these symptoms needs to be referred quickly by her medical advisor to see an appropriate consultant for blood and liver functioning tests to be performed. A failure or delay in the diagnosis of Obstetric Cholestasis can be very dangerous for both mother and baby. In most severe cases it can lead to a still birth and ultimately can establish grounds for medical negligence.
Medical Management of Obstetric Cholestasis
Normally, the liver will release bile salts into the gut to aid the digestion of food. But for a few pregnant women the combination of genetic factors and increased levels of oestrogen will hinder the flow of bile salts, causing them to build up in the body. This will result in excessive itching for the individual concerned, especially on the palms of their hands and soles of their feet. It may also lead to jaundice, a notable sign of liver dysfunction. This sees the skin and whites of the eyes turn yellow, along with pale bowel movements and dark urine.
The symptoms of obstetric cholestasis can be extremely uncomfortable, and unfortunately there is no obvious cure. The affected woman may apply creams such as camomile lotion to alleviate the itching, and a vitamin K supplement may be advised as obstetric cholestasis can compromise the body's ability to absorb vitamin K. Otherwise it is necessary to wait until after the baby has been born when liver function will return to normal once again, and the symptoms of obstetric cholestasis will simply disappear.
But despite it being a self-limiting condition, it extremely important that obstetric cholestasis is properly managed by medical professionals. Any pregnant women complaining of itching should undergo liver function tests (LFTs), blood tests and an ultrasound scan to ensure a correct diagnosis is achieved. Once obstetric cholestasis is affirmed, a woman should have regular liver function tests, usually once a week until the baby is born. The baby should also being closely monitored throughout the rest of the pregnancy, with close attention paid to the baby's heart rate, growth and amniotic fluid.
The birth itself may be induced early at around 37 weeks if the liver function tests are very abnormal. This will decrease the risk of stillbirth. During labour medical professionals should monitor both mother and baby very closely, and if the baby's heart rate shows any sign of distress, it may be necessary to proceed to an emergency caesarean section.
Obstetric Cholestasis and Medical negligence
If doctors fail to appropriately manage obstetric cholestasis, the unborn baby could be put in danger. Indeed, the condition can augment the risk of premature birth or still birth, and it is therefore vital that the baby’s health is continually checked. If medical professionals fail to do so (either because obstetric cholestasis was not diagnosed or was not adequately managed) and a baby does suffer harm, the standard of care will have fallen to an unacceptable level. This will amount to medical negligence, meaning a claim for damages can be sought by the parents of the affected baby.
Receive Free Initial Advice
If you or a member of your family have suffered from Obstetric Cholestasis and believe there was a delay in receiving appropriate treatment, which caused problems to the mother or baby, you may have grounds for claiming medical negligence compensation. Your 1stClaims solicitor will have experience of dealing with cases involving this condition and will understand the traumatic and distressing experience you and your family have been through. They will guide you through the legal process and explain the options available to you should you decide to pursue a claim for medical negligence compensation. Remember the first initial interview is free of charge and without any obligation.
Can We Help You?
We understand that if you are on our website you may well be confused about the treatment you have received and confused about your options. This is why we offer you a free, no obligation discussion with one of our specialist Obstetric Cholestasis medical negligence solicitors. Simply call us on 0800 2888 693 (from a mobile click to call: 01348 630 720) or complete our Obstetric Cholestasis Medical Negligence enquiry form to be advised of your options.
All initial enquiries are completely free of charge and we will investigate all funding options for you.
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