Can You Sue a Hospital for a Retained Placenta?

This page has been written, edited, and reviewed by a team of legal writers following our comprehensive editorial guidelines. This page was approved by Founding Partner, Terry Crouppen who has more than 40 years of legal experience as a personal injury attorney. Our last modified date shows when this page was last reviewed.

This page has been written, edited, and reviewed by a team of legal writers following our comprehensive editorial guidelines. This page was approved by Founding Partner, Terry Crouppen who has more than 40 years of legal experience as a personal injury attorney. Our last modified date shows when this page was last reviewed.

Brown & Crouppen

Although most deliveries are reported to be successful, there are a few complications that can arise after birth. Doctors are expected to detect and remove any retained placenta from the uterus quickly and without incident. Failure to do so can lead to serious health issues and cause further birth complications.

Can you sue a hospital for a retained placenta in Missouri? The answer is yes, but only under clear circumstances. To file a retained placenta lawsuit, you must provide evidence to prove that the hospital or physician did not treat you with the reasonable care that another institution or doctor would have shown in a similar situation. 

The experienced team of attorneys at our full-service personal injury law firm can provide you with the high-quality legal guidance you need to pursue justice. With more than 40 years of experience in personal injury law and over 250 legal professionals, you can rest assured that your case will get the attention it deserves. We don’t charge any upfront legal fees, and we only get paid if you win the case.

What Is a Retained Placenta?

A retained placenta is a situation where the entire placenta or parts of it remain in the uterus after childbirth. Normally, the placenta should detach from the uterine wall and be expelled within 30 minutes after delivery. When this doesn’t happen, serious complications like internal bleeding, uterine damage, and sepsis can occur. 

This condition poses a serious risk to maternal health and can lead to significant complications or even death. A retained placenta occurs in about 0.5 to 3 percent of vaginal deliveries. It’s crucial for a doctor or hospital to address a retained placenta quickly to prevent potential issues. 

Different Types of Retained Placenta

Retained placenta can either be partial or complete. In situations involving a partially retained placenta, a section of the placenta fails to successfully detach from the uterine wall after childbirth. This can happen if a small fragment breaks off during delivery.

A completely retained placenta, on the other hand, occurs when the entire placenta fails to detach from the uterus. While complete retention is more severe, both situations can cause heavy hemorrhaging and increase the risks of postpartum complications.

Retained placentas can also be classified as:

  • Placenta adherens – This is the most common type, occurring when the uterine contractions are not strong enough to expel the placenta completely.
  • Trapped placenta – This occurs when the placenta peels away from the uterine wall but ends up stuck behind a closed cervix.
  • Placenta accreta – This is a more severe form where the placenta attaches too deeply into the uterine wall and becomes hard to detach.

Is a Retained Placenta Considered Malpractice?

Whether a retained placenta is considered malpractice depends on the circumstances surrounding the case. In many instances, a retained placenta occurs naturally and is not necessarily anyone’s fault. However, there are a few situations where medical malpractice can be the reason for this complication.

Who's at Fault for Retained Placenta?

Medical professionals are under obligation to provide care that meets established standards during childbirth. Medical providers could be liable for medical malpractice if a patient is harmed due to a retained placenta caused by their failure to uphold the minimum standard of care. This could arise in cases involving: 

  • Failure to properly diagnose a retained placenta.
  • Failure to take the appropriate steps to manage and treat a retained placenta promptly.
  • Failure to monitor signs and symptoms of a retained placenta, such as excessive bleeding.
  • Using improper techniques during delivery or in attempts to remove the placenta.

In such cases, the hospital or medical practitioner who did not meet the standard of care can be held accountable for the resulting injuries.

What Complications Can Arise From a Retained Placenta?

If a physician does not remove the entire placenta after childbirth, it can lead to a range of serious and potentially life-threatening complications for the mother. The types of resulting injuries or complications will depend on the cause of the retention. 

For example, if the placenta attaches to the muscular walls of the uterus instead of its lining, it can disrupt the process of uterine involution, leading to severe bleeding.Other possible issues that can arise include:

  • Serious infections
  • Uterine damage 
  • Infertility
  • Surgical removal
  • Sepsis
  • Internal bleeding
  • Genital tract damage

Types of Evidence Needed To Claim Retained Placenta Compensation

In Missouri, you need substantial evidence to claim compensation for a retained placenta. To build a successful medical malpractice case, you must demonstrate that the medical professionals departed from the standard of care expected during childbirth and that this caused the retention of your placenta.

Types of evidence that can come in handy when preparing and arguing your case include: 

  • Medical records – Detailed records from your pregnancy, labor, and post-delivery care offer information about what occurred and link the retained placenta symptoms to the alleged malpractice.
  • Maternity notes –These are records of your and your baby’s well-being that are taken down during your prenatal clinic visits. Maternity notes can offer insights into the prenatal care you received and any issues noticed during your pregnancy.
  • Ultrasound scans Copies of your ultrasound scans can help establish the health and positioning of the placenta before birth to offer an important context for your claim.
  • Expert testimony In Missouri, medical malpractice claims require submitting an affidavit from a qualified healthcare provider. A medical malpractice lawyer can assist in securing an expert medical witness and compiling evidence to prove a breach of duty.
  • Witness statements Statements from those present during your delivery, such as family members or other health care staff, can offer additional support for your claim.

Gathering viable evidence for a malpractice claim is not easy, which is why it is crucial to work with a medical malpractice lawyer. An attorney can compile and present all relevant documentation effectively. To explore all your legal options after a retained placenta, reach out to our award-winning legal team today.

How Long Do I Have To File a Lawsuit for a Retained Placenta?

The Missouri medical malpractice statute of limitations normally gives you two years from the date of the injury or its discovery to file a lawsuit. For birth injury cases that lead to death, however, the surviving family members have up to three years from the date of death to file a wrongful death claim. There is a once-and-for-all deadline of ten years for claims based on medical malpractice. 

If you miss the governing deadline for filing a lawsuit for a retained placenta, the court will dismiss your claim. Therefore, you should act quickly and start the legal process to protect your right to compensation. Our attorneys will investigate your case and submit the required paperwork before the deadline passes.

Schedule a Free Consultation to Explore Your Legal Options for Your Placenta Lawsuit

If you’ve suffered injuries due to a retained placenta and believe that medical negligence was involved, we can help you explore your legal options for suing a hospital for a retained placenta. Brown & Crouppen is committed to providing top-tier legal representation to medical malpractice victims. Our Missouri birth injury lawyers have what it takes to handle your retained placenta lawsuit. 

With an extensive network of attorneys around the country skilled in every area of birth injury law, we are well-equipped to serve clients in St. Louis, Kansas City, and throughout Missouri. Call (800) 536-4357 or contact us online to schedule your free consultation. You will incur zero upfront costs, and you will pay nothing unless we win your case. 



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