Preeclampsia Negligence Claims
New Jersey Attorneys for Undiagnosed and Mismanaged Preeclampsia
Pregnancy complications can occur at any time along the timeline of pregnancy to delivery. Many deficiencies or imbalances that occur from hormonal shifts, dietary lapses or lifestyle choices may be temporary and addressed with medication or daily routine changes, causing minor inconveniences during pregnancy. Other complications are more serious, causing suffering, permanent health damage, or in the worst cases, death. One common pregnancy complication is a condition known as preeclampsia. Like eclampsia, the more severe form of preeclampsia, high blood pressure is the most prominent sign of this condition which, if left untreated, could lead to seizures, bleeding, and organ damage. It is also the prevailing cause of maternal mortality.
Ultimately, preeclampsia poses a significant danger to both expectant mothers and their babies, necessitating timely diagnosis and proper management to avoid serious and possibly life-threatening complications. In order to protect a woman’s life and the life of her child, doctors must remain acutely aware of the potential for hypertension during pregnancy and take all necessary measures to prevent maternal harm and birth injuries. Without proper diagnosis and treatment for preeclampsia, mothers and babies risk losing their lives or being forced to cope with the permanent health consequences of their injuries. If you or a loved one suffered harm or wrongful death resulting from medical malpractice with preeclampsia, contact us at (866)-708-8617 to discuss your unique case and potential for a lawsuit. An experienced New Jersey preeclampsia malpractice lawyer is available to provide you with a free consultation.
What is Preeclampsia and How is it Diagnosed?
Aside from high blood pressure, preeclampsia is recognized by protein in a pregnant woman’s urine during pregnancy and less frequently, after delivery. Tests may show low blood platelets, affecting the blood’s ability to clot, and poor liver and kidney functioning. The onset of preeclampsia occurs after the fifth month of pregnancy typically, but can happen in the earlier or later stages. If a patient has regular checkups, her doctor should be able to detect preeclampsia during this time with simple blood and urine testing, even in the absence of patient complaints. Early diagnosis of preeclampsia allows a patient and physician more options to plan and protect mother and fetus. As such, doctors must be on the lookout for it, among other possible pregnancy conditions.
In fact, about 5% of pregnant women are diagnosed with preeclampsia. And while the cause is generally unknown, some correlations between preeclampsia and genetics, autoimmune diseases, and vascular disorders exist. A woman is more likely to suffer from preeclampsia when pregnant with multiple fetuses or if it is her first pregnancy. Additionally, she is more prone to the condition if obese, older than 35, or younger than 16. Women with histories of high blood pressure, preeclampsia, diabetes, or kidney dysfunction are also more likely to develop this pregnancy complication.
When a woman experiences preeclampsia, diligent prenatal care can lead to early diagnosis and careful monitoring to avoid further complications. A physical exam, as well as urine and blood tests may show high blood pressure readings over 140/90, high protein levels in urine and atypical liver enzymes. Low blood platelets responsible for clotting may also be revealed via blood tests. Since the fetus may also experience stress, obstetricians should also monitor fetal heart rate for fetal distress when preeclampsia is the diagnosis.
What are the Signs of Preeclampsia and How is it Treated?
More challenging for physicians, however, is preeclampsia’s hidden symptoms, as pregnant women often experience no symptoms at all. If they do, they may notice a constant headache, sudden weight increase, stomach pain, and unusually swollen hands and face. These symptoms may appear like other pregnancy signs or conditions. As such, the diligent and cautious healthcare team must check blood pressure and weight at every patient visit. Doctors commonly take routine urine and blood samples during pregnancy, especially around 16 to 20 weeks, to check for blood sugar, proteins, infection, and dehydration. This is imperative in order to diagnose several conditions, including diabetes and preeclampsia.
Preeclampsia treatment during pregnancy consists of blood pressure lowering and antiseizure medications, but the course of treatment largely depends on the severity of the condition. If the fetus is in distress or the mother is having seizures, pain, swelling, fluid, or abnormalities in the abdominals, lungs, liver or kidneys, the treating doctor may recommend early delivery and administer steroids to build up the fetus’s lungs for survival outside the womb. Since the other form of treatment for preeclampsia is delivering the baby, a doctor’s considered choices must weigh the dangers to mother and baby in timing the delivery. Based on the factors present in a given case, they may proceed by inducing or waiting until at least 37 weeks, when the baby has a better chance of being born without major health problems.
Preeclampsia Complications and Medical Malpractice
Preeclampsia symptoms may be managed and successfully resolved after delivery, except in rare cases which are often associated with medical professionals’ failure to recognize and treat the condition in a timely manner. Failure to diagnose preeclampsia until the condition becomes severe leaves the pregnant patient and physician with fewer choices, to induce too early and risk the health or life of the baby or monitor and wait, risking both lives as the condition worsens. If left unresolved and the condition worsens, preeclampsia can cause excessive bleeding, a detached placenta, fluid in the lungs, liver damage, and renal failure, which can be fatal for mother and baby. With early diagnosis and treatment, however, both have better chances of surviving preeclampsia unscathed.
Likewise, failure to properly treat or manage preeclampsia may be medical malpractice, especially since it is a manageable pregnancy-related condition and simple routine tests can be used to detect it. you may need long-term medical care, which is disheartening, let alone costly and time-consuming. Women with mismanaged or untreated preeclampsia may experience the consequences for the rest of their lives, provided they live through it in the first place. Further, babies born with certain birth injuries often require a team of professionals to help them adapt to daily life with their health challenges. Bearing this in mind, it is important to consult an attorney with experience handling preeclampsia malpractice claims, as you may be compensated for your past and continuing financial and emotional damages.
Call a New Jersey Preeclampsia Lawyer to Discuss Your Potential Lawsuit
If you or your baby suffered injury needlessly due to your provider’s negligence with preeclampsia, contact our skilled team of NJ preeclampsia malpractice attorneys for more information and assistance with the legal process. We fight for just compensation for those with pregnancy and birth related injuries throughout New Jersey. Call (866)-708-8617 for a free consultation about your potential malpractice lawsuit.
- Gestational Hypertension and Preeclampsia Practice Bulletin, American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
- Preeclampsia Practice Essentials, Medscape
- Screening and Prevention of Preeclampsia, Maternal-Fetal Medicine
- Medication Errors during Birth