Disseminated Intravascular Coagulation (DIC) (also called consumptive coagulopathy) is a disorder where the body’s blood-clotting mechanisms become abnormally active. The risks are twofold. First, blood clots can form and prevent vital oxygen from reaching important areas of the body. Second, the body may use up the materials needed for blood clotting, which puts a person at risk for serious bleeding. This is a condition which can affect both the mother and the baby.
Risk Factors for Disseminated Intravascular Coagulation
- Reaction to blood transfusions
- Some types of cancer, including leukemia
- Bacterial or fungal infections
- Liver disease
- Recent surgery
- Sepsis infection
- Placental abruption
- Death of the baby in utero (particularly if delivery is delayed, which is more common with multiple pregnancies)
- Preeclampsia or HELLP syndrome
- Amniotic fluid embolism
Disseminated Intravascular Coagulation Injuries
Untreated, DIC can cause serious and potentially fatal injuries, including:
- Hemorrhage (excessive bleeding)
- Maternal death
- Fetal death
Preventing and Treating DIC Injuries
When a pregnant mother has risk factors for developing DIC, the obstetrician or nursing team may have an obligation to refer the mother to a maternal-fetal specialist. Maternal-fetal specialists are obstetricians with advanced training, and they have the capability to determine if disseminated intravascular coagulation is a risk. They may order blood tests. If diagnosed, the physician must treat the underlying cause of DIC. In some cases, fluid and red blood cell transfusions may be required.
If you or your child experienced abnormal or excessive bleeding during pregnancy or after birth, contact our medical malpractice lawyers at (440) 252-4399 or send us information about your case through our online portal. We can determine if your doctors were negligent, and if they caused injury to you or your child.