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Obstetric Cholestasis Compensation Claims
For expectant mothers, obstetric cholestasis represents a serious threat to the health and wellbeing of themselves and their new baby. If not identified and treated properly it can potentially prove fatal, which is why many families are keen to pursue compensation claims when something goes wrong.
If your family has been affected by medical negligence of this type, JMW can help you make a successful obstetric cholestasis claim. Our solicitors have considerable experience in the field of clinical negligence and can support you through every stage of the legal process.
Obstetric cholestasis is a liver disorder that affects approximately 1% of pregnant women, resulting from a reduced flow of bile fluids produced by the liver.
This is believed to be caused by high levels of oestrogen produced during pregnancy, which inhibits bile flow and creates a build-up of bile salts in the blood. Not only does this result in unbearable itching for the mother, but the bile salts can also pose a danger to the unborn child that escalates in the latter stages of pregnancy, potentially leading to stillbirth.
Those carrying twins are at a greater risk of the disease, while hereditary factors can also play a role, with the condition known to skip several generations.
The symptoms of obstetric cholestasis may be difficult to diagnose until the patient is very ill. However, itching usually starts on the soles of the feet and the palms, extending to the rest of the body. It can subsequently affect the face, ears, mouth and head, and is usually at its worst during the night, leading to sleep deprivation, exhaustion, and physical and mental fatigue.
Other signs include:
- mild jaundice, which affects about 20% of mothers with obstetric cholestasis, and occasionally afflicts babies at birth
- nausea and vomiting throughout pregnancy
- urinary tract infections, which affect 50% of mothers
- malabsorption of vitamins or worsening maternal nutrition
- postpartum haemorrhage due to inadequate absorption of vitamin K needed for the blood to clot, affecting 20% of mothers
Treating the condition
Any pregnant woman who believes that she is itching more than normal should seek professional help, which usually means undergoing a blood test to assess liver function. If abnormal results are produced and other potential causes are ruled out, a diagnosis of obstetric cholestasis may be made.
Although the itching often disappears within a week or two of delivery, the condition poses a significant enough risk of harm to the baby that early delivery - during the 35th to 38th week - may be needed to help prevent the possibility of stillbirth. Subsequent pregnancies for the same mother may require earlier delivery than the first baby, as obstetric cholestasis usually increases in intensity in subsequent pregnancies.
Despite the potential seriousness of the condition, its relative rarity means that many midwives, doctors and other medical staff are not always knowledgeable about the proper procedures for handling the disease, which means that mistakes can be made.
JMW’s team of highly qualified solicitors are well positioned to help you make a make a successful claim following a negligent blood transfusion. We employ legal experts who are members of The Law Society's panel of medical negligence experts, and are known for the professional, sympathetic approach we take to every client.
By contacting us, you can discuss the details of your potential claim via a no-obligation initial discussion, during which we will help you determine the best way forward. If you choose to go ahead with your claim for compensation we will be with you every step of the way, providing legal advice and supporting and representing your interests.
The clinical negligence team at JMW includes members of both the Law Society's specialist panel for clinical negligence and the Action against Medical Accidents (AvMA) solicitors panel. Headed by Eddie Jones, the team is among the most respected in the UK.