Miscarriages are never easy, but when you feel like medical professionals were partly to blame for what happened, it's even worse. The truth is, sometimes there are certain warning signs that doctors should be able to pick up on, and when they don't, patients can suffer. If your sister has had multiple miscarriages in the second trimester and doctors haven't done anything to investigate and/or find out why, you have a problem. The loss of your nieces and/or nephews may have been preventable.
The Incompetent Cervix and How It Relates to Miscarriages
It's not uncommon that women, especially if they've had cervical surgeries or multiple abortions, can sometimes experience premature opening of the cervix during pregnancy. This phenomenon, which is also called silent labor (because it is not accompanied by contractions or other typical symptoms), relates to what's called an incompetent cervix or cervical insufficiency. It means that where the cervix should be staying long and firm to protect the growing baby, it instead shortens and softens to let the premature baby out, before it's fully ready. Sometimes this means a premature birth, and other times it means a miscarriage.
Testing for an Incompetent Cervix
Any time a woman has lost a baby in the second trimester, she should be tested for cervical insufficiency. While in the old days women were only tested for this condition when they had lost two or three babies, today doctors can use a serial sonogram to check for cervical length and ensure the length of the cervix is at the proper size. If it is indeed discovered that she has an incompetent cervix, doctors can provide a stitch, known as a cervical cerclage, which helps to close off the cervix and keep the membranes from protruding into the endocervix and/or to keep the cervix from becoming shorter. They can also offer certain medications that may have a positive effect on the outcome of the pregnancy by lessening the chance of premature delivery.
Why This Matters
The bottom line is this: healthcare providers have a responsibility to let patients know when they're at risk for something - or at least to have a discussion about the risk and options for treatment with them. So if your sister evidenced key warning signs for a cervical problem, her doctors should have checked for it. When that doesn't happen, it raises questions about malpractice.
If you believe your sister has been improperly treated and/or that the doctors haven't checked for cervical insufficiency when they should have, talk to the experienced malpractice attorneys at Ross Feller Casey.