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How are Preeclampsia and Medical Negligence Related?

March 27, 2024  ·  By HM&M

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Preeclampsia can be life-threatening for pregnant mothers and babies. It can also cause serious birth injuries if left untreated.

Most pregnant mothers and their medical teams identify and treat preeclampsia without harm to mother or child. However, there are other instances where medical negligence stands in the way.

The results can be devastating. Learn more about preeclampsia, how medical negligence is related, and what to do if you were impacted by negligent medical care during your pregnancy.

What is Preeclampsia?

Preeclampsia is a pregnancy complication related to high blood pressure. It typically develops after 20 weeks of pregnancy and can be identified in pregnant mothers who had normal blood pressure prior. It can become deadly for mother and baby if left untreated, impacting vital organs such as the liver and kidneys.

The symptoms of preeclampsia include:

  • High blood pressure
  • Severe, painful headaches
  • Nausea and/or vomiting
  • Upper abdominal pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Excess protein in urine or other kidney problems; lower urine output
  • Vision changes, including blurred or loss of vision or sensitivity to light
  • Decreased blood platelets
  • Brain, kidney, and/or liver complications

Factors that increase the risk of preeclampsia include:

  • A history of high blood pressure before pregnancy
  • Diabetes or kidney disease
  • Autoimmune disorders
  • Age (a teen or older than 35)
  • Obesity prior to pregnancy
  • Carrying multiple babies

Preeclampsia and Birth Injuries

Aside from lethal consequences, preeclampsia can also cause a number of birth injuries to the baby if left untreated. These are often due to lack of oxygen to the brain, and commonly include:

  • Brain damage
  • Delayed development and growth
  • Seizures
  • Impaired motor function and paralysis
  • Audio and visual complications
  • Cerebral palsy

How to Treat Preeclampsia

Preeclampsia can’t be prevented. Due to the high risk of complications related to preeclampsia, it’s essential that medical care providers identify and treat preeclampsia immediately.

Based on the gestational age of the baby, the medical care team will opt to manage the preeclampsia with frequent blood pressure checks and medications.

For mothers who are 36 weeks pregnant or more, the standard of care for treatment is immediate cesarean section of the baby.

How Medical Negligence Can Cause Preeclampsia Complications

Medical negligence or medical malpractice can result in misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis of preeclampsia. This is when the medical team either fails to accurately identify preeclampsia or ignores critical symptoms that result in a delayed diagnosis.

If the preeclampsia goes undiagnosed or is misdiagnosed, this could be a violation of the patient’s rights to a certain standard of care. As a result, the patient may be able to sue and receive compensation to address health complications and costly health care for the baby.

The only way to know whether you have a viable case is to speak with a qualified, specialized medical malpractice attorney.

How to Get in Touch with a Medical Malpractice Attorney

The team at Hurley McKenna & Mertz has years of experience fighting for survivors of medical malpractice related to preeclampsia and birth injuries.

Our team will gather the facts about your case and help you determine whether preeclampsia complications were a result of medical negligence.

To speak with an attorney, contact us for a free consultation today.

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