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HELLP syndrome is a pregnancy complication that is a variant of preeclampsia. It can be life threatening. Dr. Louis Weinstein named this condition HELLP syndrome after its characteristics, which are:
- H, for hemolysis, the breaking down of blood cells
- EL, for elevated liver enzymes
- LP, for low platelet count
HELLP syndrome is rare and occurs in less than 1% of all pregnancies. It can show up even if a mother does not have preeclampsia. Typically, though, these characteristics will show up as a result of preeclampsia or in combination with preeclampsia. About 10-20% of mothers who have preeclampsia will also be diagnosed with HELLP syndrome, which develops in the last stages of pregnancy. A doctor may deliver a baby early if a mother has this condition.
Women are at risk of developing HELLP syndrome if they are at an advanced maternal age, they are having more than one baby, they have a history of preeclampsia, or they have diabetes or high blood pressure.
Symptoms of HELLP Syndrome
Sometimes, symptoms of HELLP syndrome can seem like a stomach flu or normal symptoms that pregnant women experience. For instance, they can include headache, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, stomach pain, especially in the upper abdomen, impaired vision, swelling, uncontrolled bleeding, abnormal levels of protein in the urine, pain when taking a deep breath, sudden and excessive weight gain, and swelling, especially in the face and hands.
To determine if a women is experiencing HELLP syndrome, a doctor will do tests like checking the blood pressure and feeling for an enlarged liver, excess swelling, and abdominal tenderness. They might also run a urine test to look for abnormal proteins, do an MRI to see if there is bleeding in the liver, and run blood tests to investigate red blood cell count, platelet levels, and liver enzymes.
HELLP syndrome can cause serious injury to a mother and baby including placental abruption, pulmonary edema, ruptured liver, acute renal failure, and maternal and infant lung failure.
Treatment for HELLP Syndrome
A baby may need to be delivered early in order to stop the progression of HELLP syndrome. A doctor may administer other treatment depending on how serious a mother’s condition is and how close she is to the due date. If the baby is not yet 34 weeks old or symptoms are milder, then a doctor may give a mother magnesium sulfate to stop any seizures from occurring, do blood transfusions to address the low platelet levels and anemia, prescribe corticosteroid medication to ensure the baby’s lungs mature just in case they must be delivered early, and prescribe antihypertensive medication in order to control blood pressure. If HELLP syndrome is not addressed or it progresses, then treatment will vary depending on the injury the mother and/or the baby are experiencing.
How Do I Know if Medical Malpractice Caused HELLP Syndrome?
It’s difficult to determine whether or not medical malpractice has occurred. Even if a doctor makes a mistake, it may not qualify as negligence and you could not sue them. The way the legal system is set up, it’s very tough to sue doctors, and there is a high standard for medical malpractice. The logic goes that if it were easy to sue doctors, then nobody would want to become one out of fear of getting sued, and society as a whole would suffer.
You can figure out if medical malpractice was at play in your case if you get in touch with a birth injury lawyer. They will evaluate the facts of your case and look at the evidence you have in order to determine whether or not negligence happened. Then, you’ll know if you can sue your doctor and potentially get a settlement to cover your damages.
How Much Will I Receive From a HELLP Syndrome Settlement?
There’s no way of knowing ahead of time how much you will receive from a HELLP syndrome settlement. However, your birth injury lawyer will calculate your economic and non-economic damages to come up with a number. These damages could include:
- Medical bills
- Loss of companionship and enjoyment of life
- Pain and suffering
- Future medical care
- Loss of earning capacity
Your settlement will depend on the amount of your damages. For example, if you experienced a serious injury due to HELLP syndrome and had to incur thousands of dollars in medical bills as well as take off work, your lawyer would go after those damages. If your baby got injured and now needs medical care for life, you could receive damages for future medical care, pain and suffering, and other factors.
Settlement Offers in a HELLP Syndrome Case
When it comes to medical malpractice, many doctors, who are the defendants, will choose to settle rather than go to court if the evidence against them is strong enough. For instance, if you have medical records, photographs of your injury or your baby’s injury, and witness statements, then your doctor might determine it would be worse for them to go to court. They’d rather pay you a settlement and keep this incident between the both of you rather than risk their reputation.
Your birth injury lawyer will help you gather all the evidence you need in order to make your case as strong as possible. Then, they will reach out to the defendant and attempt to work out a settlement. If the defendant refuses, your lawyer can always take them to court. It’s up to you to decide what course of action you want to take.
Why Contact a Birth Injury Lawyer?
When you got pregnant, you were so excited about your new baby. Now, you’re upset that your baby is not well or you’re experiencing health issues because of your doctor’s mistakes. It’s not fair that you should have to pay all these new expenses because they made an error. At this time, you need to take care of yourself, your baby, and your family, and leave the litigation up to your lawyer. Then, you can feel more at ease during this tumultuous time in your life.
HELLP Syndrome Birth Injury Attorneys
If your baby experienced an injury because of HELLP syndrome and you believe that your doctor’s negligence is to blame, it’s time to take action. The birth injury lawyers at Gilman & Bedigian are here for you and will fight to get you the settlement you deserve. Don’t hesitate; call today.
Contact Gilman & Bedigian 24/7 for a free consultation at (800) 529-6162.