Medical Negligence: Failure to Diagnose Preeclampsia

Aug 30, 2018 — by Gary Zucker
Tags: Medical Malpractice Failure To Diagnose Preeclampsia

A gavel and stethoscopePreeclampsia is a complication of pregnancy that’s associated with high blood pressure (hypertension) and damage to one of a woman’s internal organs, typically the liver or kidneys. In most cases, preeclampsia sets in around the 20th week of pregnancy. If condition is not diagnosed properly, it can lead to dire consequences for the mother and her child. The failure to diagnose preeclampsia is grounds for a medical malpractice lawsuit.

The Brooklyn, NY lawyers of Gary A. Zucker & Associates, P.C. would like to consider the common warning signs of preeclampsia and why doctors need to be held accountable for their mistakes.

Signs and Symptoms of Preeclampsia

Preeclampsia is most commonly caused by damaged blood vessels, poor blood flow to the uterus, immune disorders, and genetic complications. Some of the most common signs and symptoms of preeclampsia include:

  • Hypertension
  • Excessive protein in a woman’s urine
  • Decreased urination
  • Severe headaches
  • Vision problems
  • Pain in the upper abdomen
  • Shortness of breath
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Low blood platelet count

Risk Factors for Preeclampsia

Preeclampsia is often associated with the following risk factors:

  • History of hypertension
  • Family history of preeclampsia
  • First pregnancy
  • Pregnancy with a new partner
  • Pregnancy at an early age
  • Pregnancy after age 40
  • Obesity
  • Multiple pregnancies (i.e., twins, triplets)
  • Pregnancy through in vitro fertilization (IVF)

What Doctors Should Look for in Pregnant Women

To diagnose preeclampsia, doctors should note the above risk factors as well as any symptoms that pregnant women experience. If a woman experiences any symptoms of preeclampsia after the 20th week of pregnancy, further tests should be performed for proper diagnosis, such as blood work and urine analysis. It’s also important for doctors to consider ultrasound to monitor the development of the fetus throughout pregnancy.

If preeclampsia is properly diagnosed, doctors can help manage the condition and minimize the harm it does to mother and child. Catching the condition early is ideal for preventing serious complications during the pregnancy.

The Consequences of Preeclampsia Misdiagnosis

Failure to diagnose preeclampsia could lead to serious harm to the mother and child during pregnancy.

For mothers, there’s a risk of developing eclampsia, which is essential preeclampsia with seizures. Pregnant women may also suffer from serious organ damage and hemolysis (HELLP), which is the destruction of red blood cells.

For babies, preeclampsia increases the risk of premature birth, low birth weight, and placental abruption, all of which can lead to serious problems for your child immediately upon birth and in terms of long-term growth and development.

How a Medical Malpractice Lawyer Can Help

If you have developed preeclampsia that was not diagnosed by your doctor, you should consider pursuing a medical malpractice lawsuit against the medical professional. These lawsuits can help you seek damages to cover any additional medical treatment you or your baby requires as a result of the untreated preeclampsia. You should not have to shoulder these expenses on your own since the doctor was at fault for missing telltale signs of your condition.

Contact Gary A. Zucker & Associates, P.C.

To learn more about your legal options following a misdiagnosis of a serious medical condition, it’s important that you contact our experienced medical malpractice lawyers. The legal team at Gary A. Zucker & Associates, P.C. is here to help you in your time of legal need. You can reach our law office directly by calling (718) 624-1211.

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