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HELLP Syndrome

Syracuse Lawyers Representing Families Harmed by Birth Injuries

During pregnancy, some mothers develop HELLP syndrome, a disease characterized by Hemolysis, Elevated Liver enzyme levels and Low Platelet levels. When health care professionals fail to diagnose and treat HELLP syndrome, the problem can harm the mother and child. If you developed HELLP syndrome that was left untreated and you believe your baby sustained birth injuries as a result, you should consult the Syracuse birth injury attorneys of DeFrancisco & Falgiatano.


Symptoms of HELLP include increasingly worsening nausea and vomiting, significant fatigue, persistent headaches, and pain in the upper right abdominal area. Often, the disease starts with high blood pressure. Doctors do not know what triggers HELLP syndrome in pregnant women, but believe it may be a variant of preeclampsia. HELLP can cause serious complications including stroke, seizures, placental abruption, infant respiratory failure, intrauterine growth restriction, pulmonary edema, renal failure, and liver rupture. In some cases, HELLP results in premature birth or stillbirth.

Generally, when HELLP develops late in the prenatal period, obstetrician-gynecologists (OB-GYNs) order immediate delivery, such as through a C-section, to prevent further harm to the baby. However, if HELLP develops earlier in the pregnancy, doctors may need to be manage, monitor and treat the condition. Physicians may treat HELLP with bedrest, medications, blood transfusions, corticosteroids to accelerate the babies’ lung development, and frequent fetal monitoring.


In order to hold an OB-GYN or other health care provider liable for failure to properly handle HELLP, you will need to establish medical malpractice. This means you will need to show it is more likely than not that: (1) the defendant owed you a professional standard of care, (2) the defendant departed from the professional standard of care, (3) the departure caused you harm, and (4) actual injuries. Specifically, you will need to show your OB-GYN owed you a professional duty with regard to the HELLP syndrome, but failed to diagnose, failed to treat or improperly treated HELLP, which resulted in your baby’s birth injuries.

In most cases, you will need to retain an expert to testify about the professional standard of care under the circumstances, how it was breached, and whether it caused birth injuries. The professional standard of care depends on the defendant’s specialty and the geographic region where the alleged breach took place. For example, if your OB-GYN failed to deliver your child by C-section after diagnosing you with HELLP in the 37th week of gestation, the professional standard of care would be based on what a competent OB-GYN in or around Syracuse would have done under the same circumstances.

You may need to retain more than one expert. Often the expert on the professional standard of care and breach in your case will be a board-certified OB-GYN familiar with the professional standard of care in Syracuse. However, it may be necessary to retain one or more experts on birth injuries and their long-term consequences as well. For example, it may be necessary to retain experts on whether the intrauterine growth restriction suffered by the baby because of HELLP syndrome caused cerebral palsy, whether that cerebral palsy requires rehabilitation, what type of rehabilitation, and for how long.

Certificate of Merit

Even before filing suit, you will need to consult an expert who is reasonably knowledgeable about the issues in your case. That expert will need to review the facts and conclude there is a viable basis to sue for damages. Your lawyer will need to file a certificate of merit attesting to this consultation along with the complaint in the case.


If you can establish liability, you may be able to obtain compensatory damages. While nothing can make up for a baby’s serious disability or death, compensatory damages are intended to put you roughly in the position you would have been in had there been no birth injuries caused by HELLP. Economic losses you may be able to recoup include medical bills, medication, medical equipment, therapy and rehabilitation. Noneconomic losses may include pain and suffering, emotional distress, reduced earning capacity, and loss of enjoyment of life.

Consult a Seasoned Attorney in Syracuse

If your baby was harmed by HELLP syndrome that went undiagnosed or untreated during your pregnancy, you may be entitled to compensation for the injuries suffered as a result. Call the experienced lawyers at DeFrancisco & Falgiatano for a consultation. We provide tough, compassionate representation to babies and their families in Rochester, Syracuse, and other cities in Upstate New York, including in Oneida, Cooperstown, Auburn, Lyons, Canandaigua, Oswego, Binghamton, Wampsville, Watertown, Ithaca, Elmira, Herkimer, Utica, and Lowville. Contact DeFrancisco & Falgiatano at 833-200-2000 or by completing our online form.

Client Reviews
"We were very impressed with how Jeff DeFrancisco represented us at trial and we were extremely happy when the jury found in our favor." D.M., Auburn, NY
"I suffered a serious injury as a result of medical malpractice. My husband and I retained Jeff DeFrancisco to assist us in this case. We were extremely happy with his representation and highly recommend him." Kelley R., Syracuse, NY
Since the insurance company was unwilling to settle the matter my case ultimately went to trial. At trial Jeff DeFrancisco did an absolutely amazing job by obtaining a very favorable result for me." T.H., Oneida, NY
"I highly recommend DeFrancisco & Falgiatano - Charlie represented me for a medical malpractice case. He is the best of the best. He is friendly and I am very happy with the representation he provided." Roger N., Oneida, NY