The Dangers of Rh Incompatibility

Medical Malpractice Attorney

If you or your infant was injured because your obstetrician was negligent, contact a medical malpractice attorney without delay. They can help you get a fair settlement that can make it possible for you and your family to seek quality healthcare and recover the damages you suffered. Undergoing proper natal and prenatal care is critical to ensure a healthy baby and for the mother’s well-being as well. Your obstetrician is tasked with the duty of providing a level of care that protects you and your unborn child during the birthing process. When they breach that duty with an act of negligence or carelessness, they might be liable for damages sustained by the mother and/or child. Talk to our medical malpractice attorney in a free consultation to learn if your circumstances merit filing a claim. Below is a general overview of blood types and the Rh factor. Understanding this information can help clarify the responsibility of an obstetrician to their patients.

The Rh Factor

The Rh factor of the mother and child is an important consideration prior to and during childbirth. The Rh factor refers to a particular type of protein that may be present in a person’s red blood cells. When this protein in present, the person is typed as having Rh positive blood. When a person does not have the protein, their blood type is classified as Rh negative. These are often represented as Rh+ and Rh-.

How a Person Develops the Rh Factor

A person does not actually develop the Rh factor; it is inherited, passed down from the mother or father to the fetus through their genes.

Rh Factor as a Risk During Pregnancy

During pregnancy, if the mother is Rh negative and the fetus is Rh positive, this is referred to as Rh incompatibility. Under certain circumstances, this incompatibility could present serious complications and is something the obstetrician should make himself or herself aware of. The reason for this is that if the blood of an Rh positive contaminates the blood of the Rh negative mother, her body will misinterpret the source of the Rh negative proteins from the child as an infection. As a result, her body will automatically generate anti-Rh antibodies to fight the misperceived infection. Subsequently, the antibodies may enter the placenta and attempt to destroy the fetus’ blood. This can be catastrophic for the fetus or newborn as it may kill it, or at the very least cause them serious health problems. If an obstetrician ignores this risk and does not act proactively and if their inaction allows an injury or death to occur, they might be held liable in a medical malpractice claim.

Common Ways in Which the Fetus’ Blood Can Enter the Mother’s Bloodstream

During labor and the birthing process, a small amount of blood from the fetus can enter the bloodstream of the mother. It can also occur during pregnancy or during a birth with complications such as a breech presentation. Risk can be lowered by administering a special medicine to the mother which prevents her body from forming the antibodies. A competent obstetrician will be aware of this medication and will inform the mother of her options.

If you or your child were harmed during pregnancy or childbirth due to an Rh incompatibility, contact a law office immediately.