Despite access to some of the world’s most advanced health care facilities and medical treatments, giving birth in the United States is often fraught with avoidable complications for both mother and child.
Among the complications that can arise during pregnancy, preeclampsia ranks highly among the most dangerous of these avoidable conditions. Perhaps the most unfortunate element of preeclampsia is that mothers who experience a seemingly normal pregnancy may experience preeclampsia without knowing it, making it one of the most dangerous and life-altering pregnancy complications.
Furthermore, the long-lasting effects of preeclampsia can cause a lifetime of health issues for the child, including cerebral palsy.
What is Preeclampsia, And Why is it Often Undiagnosed?
Preeclampsia is a pregnancy with some telltale signs, including one or more of the following:
- Excess protein in urine
- High blood pressure
- Difficulty breathing
- Temporary vision loss, blurred vision, changes in vision, or sensitivity to light
- Upper abdominal pain
- Lowered urine output
- Thrombocytopenia (decreased platelet levels in blood)
- Impaired liver function
These symptoms most often occur after the twentieth week of pregnancy, though they may also begin just before or during labor and during birth. Although each symptom places strain on the mother, effects like high blood pressure can lead to significant complications on the fetus’ organs, leading to events such as hypoxia, brain injury, blood clots and seizures if not identified and addressed.
If the mother experiences preeclampsia-induced seizures, she is at an increased risk of:
- Aspiration pneumonia
- Cerebral hemorrhage
- Developing HELLP syndrome (hemolysis, elevated liver enzymes, low platelet count)
- Kidney failure
- ARDS (acute respiratory distress syndrome)
- Liver damage
However, perhaps the most stressful conditions deriving from preeclampsia are increased chances of premature deliveries and placental abruption events. Each is often a precursor of serious birth complications and injuries, which can lead to the onset of a child’s cerebral palsy and brain injury.
How Preeclampsia May Lead to Cerebral Palsy
Of expectant mothers who develop preeclampsia, around 25% will experience kidney and liver failure. The fetus may also experience hypoxia due to a lack of oxygen. Moreover, pregnant women who experience preeclampsia are at an elevated risk of placental abruption, leading to intense bleeding and limited oxygen to the developing fetus’ brain, causing underdevelopment.
During development, the fetus needs adequate oxygen supply throughout each stage of the mother’s pregnancy and birth. When the fetus experiences prolonged episodes of oxygen deprivation during development, labor, or delivery, brain damage can occur, causing cerebral palsy.
Did Your Care Professional Fail to Diagnose Preeclampsia?
Medical professionals are trained to keep a sharp eye out for any complications during pregnancy—especially potentially serious conditions like preeclampsia.
Failing to identify and address preeclampsia in either the mother or baby can lead to irreversible health issues, and even death in both mother and child. That’s why it’s critical that physicians catch and address preeclampsia early on. But in too many cases, medical professionals neglect to find preeclampsia symptoms before it’s too late.
Trust Hurley McKenna & Mertz with Your Preeclampsia Lawsuit
If you believe that your child’s cerebral palsy stems from undiagnosed preeclampsia, you have every right to file a suit. Working with an experienced medical malpractice attorney ensures that you are building the strongest case possible. Your lawyer will help you gather facts and identify if and when your care provider failed to diagnose your preeclampsia.
Each member of our team recognizes that even the strongest cases can cause emotional pain and anguish. Understand that, when you trust Hurley McKenna & Mertz with your medical malpractice case, we will treat you and your case with the compassion and professionalism required to pursue the appropriate amount of compensation, justice, and closure that you deserve.
Reach out to us today for your free consultation, and to learn more about how we can help represent you.