Preeclampsia is an extremely dangerous condition that occurs in late pregnancy and can have dire consequences for both mother and baby. It affects between five and eight percent of pregnancies and is a leading cause of maternal and infant death and other debilitating health problems.
Preeclampsia can come on without a lot of warning. It may be characterized by:
- High blood pressure
- Protein in the urine
- Low blood platelet count
- Fluid in the lungs
- Excessive swelling
- Sudden weight gain
- Unusual headaches or visual problems
- Abdominal or shoulder pain
Preeclampsia must be diagnosed and treated quickly to prevent or mitigate the devastation that it can unleash. Competent prenatal care is essential to early diagnosis and treatment. If your doctor failed to diagnose or mismanaged preeclampsia, and you or your child suffered harm as a result, the Phoenix birth injury lawyers at Cullan & Cullan may be able to help. We can evaluate the circumstances surrounding your case to determine whether you have a claim, and we can take legal action on your behalf to hold the at-fault practitioner or facility accountable.
Find out more about your rights and options by calling (602) 900-9483. Your consultation is free!
Medical Malpractice Actions for Preeclampsia Injuries
A healthcare professional may be found liable for injuries and fatalities stemming from their medical errors. Licensed healthcare professionals and institutions owe a duty of care to their patients. Medical malpractice occurs when a doctor, hospital, or other healthcare professional fails to deliver a standard of care to a patient that another competent professional would provide, causing provable harm to their patient as a direct result of the breach of the standard of care and causing the patient to incur financial and quality-of-life damages.
Effects of Preeclampsia & Eclampsia on the Mother
Left untreated, preeclampsia can advance to the even more severe eclampsia. In the pregnant mother, it can cause:
- Liver failure
- Kidney failure
- Low blood volume
- Low platelets
- Blood clots
- Central nervous system damage
- Placental abruption
Effects of Preeclampsia & Eclampsia on the Baby
When preeclampsia occurs, it must be monitored closely and it is often necessary to deliver the baby as soon as possible. Complications that may occur during birth when the baby has been affected by preeclampsia include:
- Lack of blood flow to the placenta
- Premature birth
- Brain damage
- Birth asphyxia
- Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy (HIE)
- Cerebral palsy
- Developmental and intellectual disabilities
Who Is Responsible?
Preeclampsia is a fairly common complication of pregnancy, which shows up in more than one out of every twenty pregnant women after 20 weeks of pregnancy. Anyone working in the medical field of obstetrics must be familiar with the condition and must examine their patients regularly in late pregnancy, performing the essential tests that would indicate preeclampsia so that it can be diagnosed at its earliest stages.
These tests include:
- Regular monitoring of the mother’s blood pressure
- Blood tests
- Fetal ultrasound
These tests are routine for women in late pregnancy. In addition, the doctor or midwife should have open communication with the mother-to-be, and should be alert to other physical symptoms, such as unusual swelling, rapid weight gain beyond what would be expected, headaches, blurred vision, and other signs that all may not be well.
If a doctor, nurse-midwife, or other obstetrical professional fails to detect, diagnose, and treat preeclampsia, the mother, baby, and family may have a cause of action for medical malpractice to recover monetary compensation for their damages. Any failure to perform routine screenings or to follow up with additional testing to rule out or confirm a diagnosis of preeclampsia will usually be considered as a breach of the standard of care that an obstetrical patient in Arizona is owed by her doctor or midwife, and could be indicative of medical malpractice.
Get Legal Help from Lawyers with Medical Degrees
If you are a mother who suffered from undiagnosed preeclampsia or whose child has health and/or developmental problems as a result, or if your baby and/or his or her mother succumbed to preeclampsia/eclampsia that was not diagnosed and treated promptly, you and your family may have a cause of action to recover money in compensation for your damages.
These are difficult and complex legal cases. You should only hire a lawyer with significant medical knowledge and experience in malpractice cases. Our Phoenix birth injury attorneys are also doctors. We are seasoned legal professionals and are also trained and experienced in the medical aspects of preeclampsia cases, including the expected standard of care and medical terminology associated with these.
Call (602) 900-9483 today to schedule a free consultation and learn what rights you have and the best way to proceed with your legal action.