Ohio Birth Negligence Attorneys Fight for Mothers and Their Babies
If not treated properly, preeclampsia can be deadly
Throughout her pregnancy, a mother should be carefully monitored by a medical team. During pregnancy, dangerous conditions can develop that potentially put the lives of the mother and baby in danger. If a mother is not monitored for these conditions, or if these conditions are not properly treated, devastating consequences may occur. At The Eisen Law Firm, our experienced attorneys hold medical professionals accountable when they fail to properly diagnose or treat serious health conditions.
What is preeclampsia?
During pregnancy, a woman may develop preeclampsia. Preeclampsia usually begins after 20 weeks of pregnancy, though it can occur earlier. It can also occur shortly after birth, but this is uncommon. With preeclampsia, a pregnant woman has high blood pressure, even though she has no history of the condition. Swelling in the hands, feet, and legs may also occur, and the pregnant woman often has protein in her urine. If preeclampsia is left untreated, it can cause significant problems, including kidney damage, liver damage, blood clots, and something called the HELLP syndrome. When preeclampsia is accompanied by seizures, it is referred to as eclampsia.
Unfortunately, the only way to “cure” preeclampsia is to deliver the baby. Sometimes delivery can be delayed briefly, to allow the baby’s lungs to mature a bit before delivery (with or without medications designed for this purpose). But if the mother’s condition deteriorates, delivery usually is expedited.
What are the risk factors for preeclampsia?
There are several factors that increase a woman’s risk of developing preeclampsia. These include:
Preeclampsia in previous pregnancies
Having high blood pressure before becoming pregnant
Having a sister or mother who suffered preeclampsia
Being pregnant with multiples
Although preeclampsia may develop in any pregnancy, these conditions increase the risk.
What are the symptoms of preeclampsia?
Pregnant women and their healthcare providers should go over the signs and symptoms of preeclampsia. These include:
Changes in vision
Vomiting and nausea (more so than what the woman has experienced throughout her pregnancy)
Pain in the abdomen
Little or no urine output
Rapid weight gain (due to an increase in bodily fluids)
Pregnant women who experience these symptoms should seek medical care immediately. Women with undiagnosed preeclampsia may suffer strokes, seizures, heart failure, and other serious complications. The placenta may also break away from the uterus, which can cause hypoxia and brain damage in the baby or even cause stillbirth.
If a woman is close to her due date—typically around 37 weeks along or later—her physician may decide to perform a Caesarean section or schedule an induction. However, not all pregnant women are far enough along to safely deliver. If their preeclampsia is mild, it may be safe to wait to deliver the baby. For these women, bed rest, medications, and hospitalization may be recommended.
In cases of severe preeclampsia or eclampsia, the baby may need to be delivered, even if the due date is several weeks away. That is when medications are given to speed up the maturity of the baby’s lungs.
If you developed preeclampsia, eclampsia, or the HELLP syndrome, and think you did not receive proper treatment, you should speak to a birth negligence attorney as soon as possible to discuss your potential claim.
Diagnosing preeclampsia and eclampsia is fairly straightforward. The mother’s blood pressure is taken and recorded at each and every prenatal office visit. The mother’s urine is also analyzed for protein. Both tests are easy to administer, review, and track. The failure to diagnose preeclampsia is usually due to some type of communication error. The nurse who took the mother’s blood pressure charts the results but does not notify the doctor that something is abnormal; the lab tests show protein in the urine, but the results don’t make it into the chart; or perhaps one doctor knows of the high blood pressure and a different doctor knows about protein in the urine. Whatever the miscommunication is, the delay in diagnosis or treatment can result in severe complications including memory loss, fetal or maternal brain injury, and fetal or maternal death.
If you or your baby has suffered the effects of preeclampsia, call The Eisen Law Firm today to discuss your legal options
At The Eisen Law Firm, our Ohio birth injury attorneys are leaders in the field and highly experienced in claims stemming from delayed diagnoses or a failure to treat a medical condition. We understand medical records and know how to pinpoint where malpractice has occurred. To schedule your free consultation with our experienced birth injury attorneys, call 216-687-0900 or visit us online.