Rh and ABO Incompatibility
Birth Injury Attorneys Assisting Families in Chicago
If a mother's blood has antibodies that do not work with the blood type of a baby, the newborn will experience blood incompatibility. Two common types of blood incompatibility are Rh and ABO incompatibility. When there is an Rh incompatibility, the mother's antibodies destroy the infant's red blood cells. There is great risk to both the baby and the mother when there is Rh blood incompatibility. ABO blood incompatibility is mild in comparison to Rh incompatibility. Commonly, it occurs if a baby's blood type is A or B, but the mother's is O. If your doctor negligently failed to recognize Rh or ABO incompatibility between your child and you, the Chicago birth injury lawyers at Moll Law Group can bring a claim on your behalf.
Pursuing Compensation for Injuries Arising from Rh or ABO Incompatibility
During a pregnancy, the mother's and baby's blood circulation are kept separate by a placental membrane, through which certain things like oxygen and carbon dioxide pass. However, there are circumstances in which the mother's and baby's blood do mix. It is common in cases of trauma and miscarriage, but there are other cases in which it is unknown why there was a mixing of the blood.
After you become pregnant, your doctor is supposed to order a blood type and factor screening in order to determine whether your blood is incompatible with your baby's blood. Of particular concern is when a mother is Rh negative, but her fetus is Rh positive. This incompatibility may cause problems during the pregnancy, especially in a second or later pregnancy.
When there is an Rh incompatibility, if your fetus' blood enters your blood stream, your own blood produces antibodies to fight the fetus' Rh antigens. Sometimes these antibodies move into the fetus' own body and attack the fetus' blood cells. Antibodies against foreign blood types may form and pass across the placental membrane into the baby's blood, resulting in the destruction of the baby's red blood cells.
When the red cells are destroyed, the waste product bilirubin is produced. When too much is produced, the bilirubin overwhelms the baby's usual process of eliminating waste, resulting in jaundice. Babies with high bilirubin levels may need phototherapy or even a blood transfusion. In a mother's subsequent pregnancies, the antibodies attack the later babies' blood cells. This can turn into hemolytic disease of a newborn.
In the case of ABO incompatibility, the baby may suffer from anemia due to the baby's red blood cells being broken down by the antibodies. The antibodies may stay in the baby's blood for weeks after the birth. Generally, ABO incompatibility is likely to produce only minor problems.
When Rh incompatibility is caught, a shot may be administered during the 28th week of pregnancy and 72 hours after delivery to reduce the likelihood of serious problems. When antibodies have already formed, it is still possible for a baby to receive an exchange transfusion to help stabilize his or her condition.
Your doctor may be held liable under a theory of medical malpractice for failing to catch an Rh or ABO incompatibility that produces birth injuries in your baby. In Illinois, if an obstetrician or another health care professional breaches the standard of care while treating a patient, resulting in injury or death, medical malpractice has occurred. The standard of care in a blood incompatibility case may vary depending on the patient's medical history, but it is usually made up of the practices that other doctors would take when treating a similar mother and fetus.
Protect Your Rights by Consulting a Chicago Lawyer for Your Birth Injury Claim
If your baby suffers harm because of a doctor's failure to properly monitor and handle Rh or ABO incompatibility, you may be entitled to compensation. The Chicago attorneys at Moll Law Group are available to review your case and pursue a claim for compensation. Our firm represents individuals and families in Naperville, Schaumburg, Wheaton, and communities throughout Cook County. Billions of dollars have been recovered in cases in which we have been involved. Contact us online or call us at 312-462-1700 to schedule a free consultation with a medical malpractice attorney.