Obstetrics / Vaginal delivery

Retained placenta

Placenta not fully delivered in vaginal birth

Success story

Carrie suffered heavy bleeding following the vaginal delivery of her second child in November 2008. 16 days after delivery she lost 2.5 litres of blood in a secondary postpartum haemorrhage, but was discharged without an ultrasound. 12 days later in early December, she was readmitted, passing a large piece of tissue identified as a lobe of placenta. PMS Expert Report concluded that the failure of the midwife to realise that a piece of placenta might be missing represents negligent care. Had this been suggested, the heavy bleeding following delivery would have been linked to the placenta lobe at this time. If an ultrasound had been performed upon her readmission in early December, the placental tissue would have been identified an removed: the failure to do so represents negligent care. Had the missing lobe been identified earlier, Carrie would have avoided unnecessary pain. Although the long term impacts are not clear at this stage, retained placenta brings a danger of endometrisis leaving to damage to the reproductive organs. The case settled, and Carrie received compensation.

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