During pregnancy, the health of the growing fetus is directly tied to the mother’s health. If the mother suffers from a medical condition such as preeclampsia, this may have a direct impact on the baby’s wellbeing. For these reasons, doctors must closely monitor a pregnant mother’s health. The sooner a maternal health condition is diagnosed, the sooner treatment can begin. If a doctor fails to recognize the signs of a health complication during pregnancy, the baby may suffer an avoidable birth injury.
What is Preeclampsia?
Preeclampsia is characterized by high maternal blood pressure during pregnancy. Sometimes, a mother suddenly experiences elevated blood pressure, and other times, her blood pressure slowly rises over time. Blood pressure greater than 140/90 mm Hg is considered abnormal. Some mothers suffering from preeclampsia do not experience symptoms of high blood pressure. Others experience symptoms like:
- Shortness of breath
- Blurred vision
- Abdominal pain
- Nausea or vomiting
- Sudden weight gain
- Swelling in the face and hands
- Signs of kidney and liver problems
Because pregnant mothers may not experience symptoms and many preeclampsia symptoms are typical of pregnancy in general, doctors must routinely check a pregnant woman’s blood pressure. Two abnormal blood pressure readings more than four hours apart are usually indicative of preeclampsia.
Potential Consequences of a Missed Diagnosis
Unfortunately, there is no cure for preeclampsia. However, doctors may be able to prevent harm to the baby by taking swift action. Often, this includes delivering the baby early. Preeclampsia increases the risk of birth injuries including:
- Vision and hearing impairments
- Cerebral palsy
- Hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE)
- Developmental disabilities
Preeclampsia may also develop into eclampsia. This life-threatening condition can cause maternal grand mal seizures, permanent organ damage, stroke, and coma. If a doctor fails to diagnose preeclampsia or misdiagnosis the condition as another health problem, he or she may be liable for birth injuries that result from this negligence.
Holding a Doctor Accountable and Recovering Damages
Medical malpractice occurs when a doctor’s negligence causes a patient or a patient’s baby to be injured or killed and damages, such as additional medical expenses, result from the injury or death. If a mother or her baby suffers a birth injury because a doctor failed to diagnose preeclampsia, the mother may hold the doctor accountable through a medical malpractice lawsuit. The mother may be entitled to financial compensation for medical bills, pain and suffering, and lost income.
Contact a Chicago Birth Injury Lawyer
If you or your baby were victims of medical negligence, contact a Cook County medical malpractice attorney at Birth Injury Law Alliance, LLC. Our team can help you seek compensation for your damages. Call 312-945-1300 for a free consultation today.