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Failure to Diagnose Preeclampsia

Deciding to bring a child into the world can be one of the most rewarding experiences of a woman’s life. While pregnancy itself can be a physically taxing experience, certain other conditions can arise after the 20th week of pregnancy which, if left undiagnosed, can lead to serious complications including death of the mother or her unborn baby. One such condition is preeclampsia – a medical complication affecting the expectant mother which is characterized by a rapid rise in blood pressure and often protein in her urine that can lead to seizure, stroke, multiple organ failure, and death of the mother and/or baby (including birth injuries).

Sadly, there is no cure for this condition other than giving birth, but there are certain tests a physician can administer to the mother to help diagnose the condition and monitor it throughout the pregnancy cycle. Yet despite the best intentions of health care providers, there are situations where a doctor simply fails to diagnose preeclampsia. If this has happened to you or someone you love, you may be entitled to compensation for your losses.

If you believe that you have suffered from preeclampsia complications that should have been caught and treated by a physician, resulting in injuries or death, consider speaking with a skilled personal injury attorney. The following is a general overview of preeclampsia, risk factors, and possible theories for a lawsuit.

Preeclampsia Overview

According to the Preeclampsia Foundation, preeclampsia and other hypertensive disorders of pregnancy are a leading cause of maternal and infant illness and death worldwide. Preeclampsia is typically diagnosed during routine blood pressure checks at prenatal appointments. Two blood pressure readings higher than 140/90 taken at least four hours apart can indicate this condition and would warrant a doctor to closely monitor the mother’s health for possible preeclampsia. At this point, there are several blood, urine, or ultrasound tests the doctor can perform to get a more accurate assessment.

If a physician fails to recognize the symptoms or treat them properly, it can result in major problems for the mother and her baby and the doctor may be liable.

Risk Factors for Preeclampsia

There are several risk factors that make certain women more susceptible to preeclampsia than others.

  • Being under 20 or over 40 years old at the time of pregnancy
  • First pregnancy
  • Multiple fetuses (twins or triplets)
  • History of certain conditions (chronic high blood pressure, migraine headaches, type 1 or type 2 diabetes, kidney disease, a tendency to develop blood clots, lupus)
  • Family history of preeclampsia
  • Obesity

Possible Causes of Action

Failure to diagnose and properly manage a mother and her baby affected by preeclampsia can be considered negligence. Moreover, if this negligence causes the baby to have a birth injury, it can be claimed as medical malpractice. And if the mother dies as a result of failure to diagnose preeclampsia, the health care practitioner may be on the hook for a wrongful death action. If the fetus or child dies, the mother may also be able to sue for damages. It is best to discuss the intricacies of these types of lawsuits and the possible monetary damages available by contacting an attorney.

Failure to Diagnose Preeclampsia: Additional Resources

Connect with an Attorney About Your Preeclampsia Situation

If you or a loved one has suffered injury related to a failure to diagnose and treat preeclampsia, you may be eligible to initiate a medical malpractice or wrongful death lawsuit. A good first step in that process is to connect with a medical malpractice attorney to discuss your potential preeclampsia legal action.

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