What Is Rhesus Disease?
Rhesus haemolytic disease in pregnancy is a rare condition whereby the antibodies in a pregnant woman’s blood destroy her baby’s blood cells.
Rhesus disease in pregnancy only occurs when the mother has rhesus-negative blood, and the baby in her womb has rhesus-positive blood. There are usually no problems with a first pregnancy as the mother is initially sensitised to rhesus-positive blood during the first birth. During subsequent pregnancies, this ‘sensitivity’ means that the woman’s body will immediately produce antibodies, which cross the placenta into the baby’s blood, killing red blood cells.
What Are Rhesus Disease Symptoms?
The mother does not experience any rhesus disease symptoms; these only affect the baby. The antibodies produced by the mother’s sensitivity may exact negative effects on the foetal development.
Rhesus Disease In Pregnancy Symptoms
When an infant develops rhesus disease while still in the womb, they may become anaemic because their red blood cells are being destroyed faster than usual by the antibodies.
Anaemia causes blood to be thinner and travel quicker, and can be detected with a type of ultrasound scan known as a Doppler ultrasound.
Severe anaemia may cause complications of rhesus disease such as internal swelling which may be detected during scans. In the worst scenarios, rhesus disease in pregnancy can lead to foetal heart failure.
Rhesus Disease Symptoms
The two main problems caused by rhesus disease of the newborn baby are haemolytic anaemia and jaundice.
The baby may not always display obvious symptoms when they are born – these may sometimes develop up to three months afterwards.
Haemolytic anaemia occurs when red blood cells which transport oxygen in the blood are destroyed by antibodies from the mother’s RhD-negative blood, which cross the placenta into the baby’s RhD-positive blood. Symptoms of haemolytic disease may include:
- pale skin,
- increased breathing rate,
- poor feeding
- jaundice (see below)
Jaundice is caused by a build-up of a chemical called bilirubin in the blood, which is made naturally in the body when red blood cells are broken down. Normally it is removed from the blood by the liver to be urinated out. In babies with rhesus haemolytic disease, the liver cannot process the high levels of bilirubin that build up because the baby’s red blood cells are destroyed. Symptoms of jaundice may include:
- low muscle tone (hypotonia)
- lacking energy
- yellowing skin and whites of eyes
If Rhesus Haemolytic Disease is left untreated, severe cases can lead to stillbirth. In other cases, it may lead to learning difficulties, deafness, blindness, and cerebral palsy.
Can I Make A Rhesus Disease Claim For Compensation?
Rhesus Disease is completely preventable, and often is only allowed to develop due to medical negligence or misdiagnosis. All women are offered blood tests as part of their antenatal screening, determining whether or not they have Rhesus Negative or Positive blood. If the mother is Rhesus negative she should then be offered injections of anti-D immunoglobulin, which help to remove foetal blood cells before the body is first sensitised.
If a healthcare provider fails to properly diagnose or address the results of the antenatal screening, Rhesus Disease of the newborn will result, which may be evidence of clinical negligence. Blood incompatibility during pregnancy is a serious risk, but it is also entirely preventable if diagnosed and treated in time.
Our solicitors can provide expert claim advice in a FREE consultation if you are unsure; simply call 01204 521 133.
How Much Will I Get?
Everyon’e’s claim is entirely different, so it is difficult to advise accurately. However, our Medical Negligence Compensation Calculator may provide a rough estimate of what you may receive. These estimates are based on your injuries and also other factors, such as psychological problems and missed time at work.
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At Asons Solicitors, we have taken the risk out of making a claim for all of our clients, which is why over 98% of our claims are No Win No Fee. This way, we can allow everyone access to justice, regardless of their financial position. If you choose to make a claim with us, there are no upfront fees or unexpected costs, as we take on the risk for you.
More on ‘No Win, No Fee’ here.
Our Rhesus Disease Claims Experience
At Asons, we understand the pain faced by those who see their babies suffer, or lose them altogether, from rhesus haemolytic disease. For this reason, we work to provide the greatest levels of support – even outside the bounds of legal advice.
Errors arising from medical negligence cases may hold dire repercussions for patients. We understand precisely what negligence is, and the detrimental effect it has on victims. The consequences may not just be physical – potential financial difficulties where time is taken off work to care for the baby must also be considered, and the ensuing stress may elicit negative psychological consequences.
We know that victims are often hesitant to come forward with their medical claims, particularly those pertaining to birthing and obstetrics. As medical negligence solicitors, it’s our job to do everything within our means to make the process as straightforward as possible.
Children diagnosed with rhesus disease may need lifetime support, care and medical attention. Rhesus disease compensation is the only way to secure their future, providing them with the equipment, assistance and support they need, which may include special education, complex equipment, and necessary home adaptations.
Rhesus Disease Resources
Coping with the aftermath of birthing injuries such as rhesus disease is often extremely traumatic and may cause a number of negative consequences in all aspects of the victim’s life. Our guide to Coping With Infant Birthing Injuries was written to help individuals come to terms with what has happened to their child and to find the support they need.
We pride ourselves on our provision of first-class legal advice, and support. Our team of specialist solicitors have a wealth of expertise and knowledge, which you will be hard-pressed to find elsewhere. They are likely to have dealt with a case like yours in the past; meaning that they can focus on the most critical case matter from the outset. This helps us achieve the greatest possible success for your Rhesus disease claim. There are time limits in place for claims of this kind, so you should seek legal advice as quickly as possible.
You may be worried about the possible costs of pursuing your claim; so we have advisory teams in place to help you secure all the assistance available to you. Whatever the situation, we are likely to find a way to help.