The name HELLP comes from the various problems that result from the condition, including:
- Hemolysis. Breakdown of the red blood cells, which carry oxygen to your body from the lungs.
- Elevated Liver Enzymes. High levels can indicate a problem with the liver.
- Low Platelet Count. Platelets assist with blood clotting.
What is HELLP syndrome?
HELLP syndrome is a serious pregnancy complication that can cause the liver to bleed, often resulting in chest or abdominal pain. Left untreated, these symptoms can lead to complications, birth injuries and even death. In fact, 1 out of 4 women with HELLP syndrome will develop serious complications.
HELLP syndrome is closely related to preeclampsia and eclampsia. Women who experience preeclampsia or eclampsia during pregnancy have a 10 to 20 percent chance of developing HELLP syndrome.
Preeclampsia typically begins after 20 weeks of pregnancy and is characterized by high blood pressure and damage to the kidneys, liver or other organs. Eclampsia is a more severe form of preeclampsia that is often accompanied by seizures.
Preeclampsia complications include high blood pressure and high protein levels in the urine. However, HELLP syndrome, which affects up to 1% of pregnancies, is a separate disorder in which these 2 symptoms often aren’t present, making it more difficult to diagnose.
Causes of HELLP syndrome
Doctors don’t currently know why HELLP syndrome occurs. However, your chance of developing it is higher if you have preeclampsia, eclampsia, certain autoimmune disorders or if you’ve had HELLP syndrome in the past. Experts believe your chances are also higher if you:
- Are White
- Are over 25
- Have given birth more than once before
Symptoms of HELLP syndrome
Signs of HELLP syndrome can appear during pregnancy or after you’ve given birth. HELLP syndrome can also develop suddenly without any previous symptoms. Signs and symptoms may include:
- Nausea or vomiting
- Blurred vision
- Sudden weight gain
- Pain in the upper right part of the belly
- Swelling, especially in the hands and face
- Bleeding that won’t stop
HELLP syndrome birth injuries are possible if these symptoms are left untreated. If you have any of these symptoms, call your doctor. If you notice severe symptoms like seizures or heavy bleeding, call 911 or go to the hospital immediately.
Complications of HELLP syndrome
HELLP syndrome can cause serious complications, including:
- Blood clots
- Kidney failure
- Heavy bleeding
- Pulmonary edema
Treatment for HELLP syndrome
HELLP syndrome isn’t usually life-threatening if treated. In fact, most symptoms begin to improve within 48 hours of giving birth.
Treatment may include close monitoring in a hospital setting, blood transfusions and medication to control blood pressure or seizures until the baby can be delivered. If you develop HELLP syndrome, you’ll need to give birth as soon as possible, so your doctor may also administer steroids to improve the fetus’s lung function prior to delivery.
Outlook for newborns
Generally, a baby’s outcome improves the closer it gets to 40 weeks in the womb. However, as long as a newborn is at least 2 pounds, survival rates and health risks of a baby born to a mother with HELLP syndrome are similar to those of a non-HELLP baby of the same weight.
Premature birth can result in increased mortality risk and other health complications. However, HELLP syndrome itself doesn’t damage the baby’s liver function.
Birth injury laws in Texas
Birth injuries caused by medical malpractice are devastating for a family. They must deal with not only the health issues of their newborn but also the emotional shock and stress during a time they should be celebrating a new member of the family.
As a result of HELLP syndrome birth injuries, a family may need to provide lifelong support for a child with a developmental or physical disability. If you believe your child’s injury was due to medical negligence, we strongly urge you to contact an experienced birth injury lawyer to review your options.
Was the birth injury preventable?
Unfortunately, many injuries during birth are due to negligence. This means they could have been avoided if the providers strictly followed the medical standard of care. A birth injury lawyer will evaluate your legal rights and help you get compensation so you can continue to provide your child with the ongoing medical needs they require.
With the proper care and treatment, it’s possible to prevent many birth injuries. Doctors and nurses should always be alert, looking for warning signs throughout the prenatal and delivery process. Many injuries occur when these professionals either miss the warning signs or fail to act fast when a baby is in distress.
Birth injuries can lead to several medical issues, including:
- Permanent disability to the body and brain
- Difficulty in school, delayed development and an inability to become an independent adult
- High medical costs, including multiple surgeries, hospitalizations, customized equipment, physical and occupational therapy and round-the-clock care
When to contact a birth injury lawyer
Birth injuries involving medical negligence can be complicated, and every case is unique. However, having an experienced birth injury attorney on your side with a history of results can make all the difference in your lawsuit and help you get the compensation your child deserves.
If you or your child has suffered from a HELLP syndrome condition or injury due to medical negligence, we strongly recommend that you seek experienced legal representation as soon as possible. A child suffering from a birth injury or disability often requires expensive life-long care, which can put undue strain on your entire family.
Laura Brown has years of experience in birth injury law, helping families like yours all across the U.S. get the compensation they deserve. If you need help with your birth injury lawsuit, contact the Brown Trial Firm today for your free consultation.
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- Neonatal Intracranial Hemorrhage (Childbirth Brain Bleeds)
- Hydrocephalus (Extra Fluid in the Brain Cavity)
- Cervical Dystonia
- Hemiplegia (Brain or Spinal Cord Injury)
- Hemorrhagic Stroke
- Neonatal Stroke
- Periventricular Leukomalacia (PVL) Brain Injury
- Infant Seizures
- Spastic Diplegia (Spasticity in the Legs)
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